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Blockchain in Fintech: 5 Financial Services Inefficiencies that Blockchain Can Resolve

Blockchain technology has been the talk of the town for a few years now. Blockchain technology is indeed one of the most disruptive technologies of the 21st century, a technology that uses –encoded, decentralized, immutable, and a distributed ledger that has the capacity of making every centralized process in the world – transparent, secure, and decentralized.

The technology first became popular due to its successful implementation for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. However, over the years the blockchain has found its use case almost in every industry from manufacturing, to supply chain to financial services, etc.

According to a report from Markets & Markets, the global blockchain market is forecasted to grow from 3 billion US dollars in 2020 to around 39 billion US dollars by 2025, at a huge CAGR of 67.3% during the period 2020–2025! This indeed hints at the phenomenal scope that this technology holds and the market inefficiencies that it promises to resolve.

Among all other industries, Blockchain has specific mention when it comes to the financial services industry as the technology possesses the capability of transforming the industry like never before. From reducing operational costs to faster & safer execution of financial transactions to improved transparency to operational efficiency, and other benefits – blockchain technology promises to bring all of these and many more the industry which has for decades been hampered by many such bottlenecks.

Let us look deeper into how blockchain can resolve some of the Key Inefficiencies of the financial services industry: Reimaging the Financial Services world with Blockchain!

5 Financial Services Inefficiencies that Blockchain Can Resolve:

1. Identity Theft

Identity theft has long been a critical issue with the financial services industry. For the financial services industry, having a secure authentication process is no longer a god to have, but is a must-have rather. Further, multi-factor authentication has become extremely important for organizations, to combat identity frauds.

  • Blockchain technology can eliminate the painstaking issue of attestation and identity fraud in financial services by providing a decentralized, distributed ledger to record banking or financial services identities and transactions.
  • The technology promises to have the potential to enable two parties that do not know each other, do not trust each other, etc. to easily perform secure transactions over the decentralized, immutable network without the need of any financial intermediaries to verify the identity of the parties and with zero % identity theft probability!
  • Secure Digital Identities can become a real thing and can be easily used for transactions over the blockchain network.

2. Fraud Detection & AML 

Not just identity theft, but financial fraud at an overall level and money laundering have been one of the key impediments of the growth of the industry for decades now. But a cutting-edge technology called blockchain could provide the fraud prevention capabilities the financial services industry has been looking for.

  • Many things complicate financial transactions ranging from the need for collaterals, the exchange between multiple parties, settlement time, currency differences, etc. With blockchain, information can be shared in real-time, and the decentralized digital ledger can only be updated when all parties agree, reducing the fraud propensity.
  • Smart Contracts that can be enabled with blockchain can revolutionize the fraud detection scenario in the financial services industry. Smart contracts allow all parties of a financial transaction to create if / then contracts in which one step of the transaction process cannot be fulfilled until the one before it has been authenticated completely, again reducing the propensity of financial frauds and money-laundering in a big way.

3. Accounting & Auditing 

Efficient and fool-proof record keeping, accounting, and auditing have been another set of hindrances for the financial services industry for many years now.

Blockchain Technology provides disruptive new methods using distributed ledgers secured by cryptography that can make audit and financial reporting transparent and occurring in real-time, totally eliminating the need for record-keeping, book-keeping on the hindsight.

Blockchain technology has the potential to transform completely the nature of accounting and auditing in today’s financial services world – completely automating the processes and that too in compliance with the regulatory requirements.

4. The Cost & The Speed of Transactions

Blockchain has the potential to revolutionize the operational efficiency of the financial services industry like nothing else. For years, the industry has been facing huge operational costs and sluggish timelines of transaction settlements.

Blockchain is such a disruptive technology that eliminates the back-office expenses, making the middlemen extinct, by bringing all transactions over one distributed digital ledger is always updated in real-time, saving millions of dollars in back-office expenses alone across the globe.

By deploying blockchain systems, banks could save as much as $20 billion on back-office costs while also securing their clients’ data and financial assets in a big way.

Also, blockchain magnifies the speed of transactions miraculously, especially when it comes to cross-border transactions which can otherwise take days in settlements. Blockchain removes multiples ledgers, multiple intermediaries, multiple borders in international transactions which can take a lot of time, cost, and can fail at any time.

Many blockchain networks using Bitcoins promise a very less cross-border transaction settlement time – sometimes even less than like 10 minutes which is indeed phenomenal compared to 10-15 days settlement time in some erstwhile methods.

5. Banking product & service value Innovation

Bankers today are dying to create product or service value innovation or in other words, innovative ways to create and give enhanced value to their customers.

Blockchain solves this perennial problem of the financial services industry by helping many bankers use this chain of blocks to create many innovative valuable offerings for their banking customers by giving them the option to securely exchange many other financial assets too through the blockchain network. Digital financial assets or also known as crypto assets exchange is one of the most valuable service offering that blockchain has provided.

According to a recent study by EY, in 2009, there was only one crypto asset in the market — bitcoin. Today, more than 1,500 crypto-assets exist, with many more created monthly. This is a remarkable value innovation for the industry provided by the blockchain technology.

The Road Ahead:

Blockchain technology can certainly reduce setbacks, disputes, and chaos in many facets of the financial services industry. Blockchain clearly has the potential to solve some of the key problems of the financial services industry that have been hampering the industry for long.

In a 2018 survey of PWC of around 600 executives across locations, close to 84% said their organizations have at least some involvement with blockchain technology – ranging from research to building proofs of concept, to pilots, etc. The whole world is talking about blockchain today and the race looks growing even more competitive by each passing day.

Many global banks like JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, and Goldman Sachs are already involved in blockchain technology for their operational activity. Indian FS players are not left behind either. Many Indian financial services industry players like ICICI Bank, Bajaj Allianz, Axis Bank, IndusInd Bank, etc. have started experimenting and deploying blockchain solutions in some way or the other.

We continue to see banks, brokerages, insurers, regulators, and others in the financial services industry actively looking for ways to deploy the benefits of blockchain. The journey looks just begun.

Stay tuned for more on Blockchain in Financial Services and much more. You can also comment in the box below or can reach me here.

References:

https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/

https://www.grandviewresearch.com/

https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/industries/technology/blockchain/blockchain-in-business.html

www.forbes.com

https://exyte.com/

https://www.ibm.com/blogs/blockchain

https://www.entefy.com/blog/post

NASSCOM Insights

Deloitte Consulting

KPMG Research

IBM Blockchain

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COVID-19 is Driving Businesses to Revisit Digital Transformation

By Karthik Natarajan, President & COO, Cyient Ltd.

As the coronavirus dominates global headlines, it is emerging as an unprecedented human tragedy that will have long-lasting and far-reaching implications. The pandemic is bound to transform forever business models and operational strategies for industries and governments alike. While it is still unclear how long this crisis will last, the uncertainty is accelerating the transition toward embracing enabling technologies and positioning digital transformation at the front and center of global business dynamics.

A recent survey by IDC in China found that while the COVID-19 crisis led businesses to face critical challenges such as the inability to visit customer, declining sales, and stalled production, it also drove organizations to improve the ability of long-distance collaboration, recognize the value of new-age technologies, and enable online and digital formats of business development and operations.

Digital tools are imperative today, and there is an urgent need to shift the focus on investing in emerging tech to build long-term resilience. Simply digitizing traditional processes will not help organizations make the cut. The focus must be on using technology to do things in a new, improved way, and fully embracing that digital transformation will be fundamental in realigning their business in the post-COVID-19 era. But what technologies will drive growth as we cut through this crisis?

Increased Automation

With social distancing becoming the norm, businesses will need to automate their operations as much as possible. It is especially relevant in the manufacturing sector with Industry 4.0 framework enabling firms to continue their factory operations without much human involvement. Automation is also a precursor to enhancing productivity, ensuring superior quality of products while keeping costs under control. Further, Robotics Process Automation helps in improving customer experience by application, add-ins, and application-based solutions.

Automation of regular network tasks can enable communications service providers to minimize the involvement of its workforce in managing the network bringing down the scope of human error and enhancing efficiency and quality of services. Besides, engineering automation also reduces manual efforts of repetitive tasks in the product development life cycle. The scope for automation across drafting, meshing, testing, technical publications, NC programming, first article inspection, and software testing is fairly significant.

“Data” Mindset

As businesses begin to operate in the new normal, developing and embracing a data mindset and appreciating its strategic value will differentiate the leaders from the laggards. From gathering information to inferring insights for tangible returns, businesses must look to align themselves to the Four-D principle of data management:

  • Data Collection – gathering and measuring information on targeted variables in an established, structured system
  • Data Storage – transforming how information is handled on the cloud or at the edge
  • Data Analytics – inspecting, cleansing, processing, and modeling input. Dashboarding and generating insights to act
  • Data Monetization – generating measurable economic benefits from available data sources and insights

By leveraging data right, businesses can be more proactive and anticipate future actions and customer expectations, deliver more relevant products, ensure personalized services, optimize processes and efficiency, and mitigate risks. The outcome of your data would be directly proportional to its “three Vs”—volume, variety, and value. Utilizing data ensures an improved customer journey and is imperative to enhanced customer experience. With the right technology, infrastructure, and analytics in place, organizations can unlock the full potential of their data for tangible business outcomes.

Connecting “Things”

When the coronavirus crisis hit, the market for IoT applications had just inched ahead of the proof-of-concept phase it had been in for a few years. Businesses that deployed IoT technologies had increased from 13% in 2014 to about 25% in 2019. And the worldwide number of IoT-connected devices was projected to increase to 43 billion by 2023, an almost threefold increase from 2018.

However, businesses that continue to leverage the power of IoT will emerge as the winners in enabling visibility into manufacturing or field operations. This is especially true for remote monitoring and product and process diagnostics when even local travel is not an option. From creating actionable insights for connected equipment and increasing productivity and minimizing costs with smart asset management to enabling intelligent supply chain solutions, analytics and IoT use real-time machine data to unlock new revenue opportunities and enhance the customer experience. Track and trace of assets, equipment, tools, and people are critical for the businesses to become truly next-gen. This would be more relevant in the post-COVID-19 era.

Cloud or Edge Computing

As IoT devices become more powerful and widespread, businesses are preferring to bring compute and analytics power close to where the data is making a clear case for edge computing. That said, decisions on whether to opt for edge or cloud computing are not an either/or question and not mutually exclusive.

While the explosive growth of IoT devices and applications continues to drive edge-computing systems and transforming how data is handled, processed, and delivered, the cloud offers tremendous benefits to organizations that use a traditional client/server network. Both computing approaches have their pros and cons. However, by integrating edge computing with centralized cloud computing (fog computing), organizations can maximize the latent qualities of both while minimizing constraints. And many of them will seek to do so by co-locating their IT infrastructure with a data center.

Advanced Analytics

Uncertain times and tight, competitive markets make it even more critical for organizations to access the right data points, analyze them thoroughly, and make insights-driven and informed decisions. By leveraging data analytics-based solutions, businesses have the scope to be more proactive and responsive to the evolving situation. From improving asset management to ensuring highly sensitive supply chains, analytics play a crucial role in optimizing operations. Further, predictive maintenance algorithms also enable enterprises to identify risks and take remedial action before any impact on the system. That said, diagnostic action based on prognostic data requires a new mindset, tools, and technologies to support it.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is adept at identifying patterns from big data, and this aspect elucidates how it is significant in managing the coronavirus crisis. The features of AI applications such as predictive analytics, natural language processing, speech recognition, image recognition, video analytics, and chatbots are not only helping healthcare workers diagnose but also trace the spread of the pandemic and monitor vaccine development.

Besides supporting healthcare workers, AI today is also helping to sustain critical infrastructure that includes asset-heavy industries such as medical equipment manufacturers, utilities, oil & gas, and transportation. Companies that leverage AI technology can apply predictive analytics to map the real-time and historic data transmitted by IoT sensors on their equipment. This enables them to identify the slightest deviations in time and prevent failures before they occur, while also understanding and eliminating the root cause of problems.

At a time when only limited personnel can be allowed on sites, power generation companies must ensure a flawless supply of energy to their customers, including hospitals that are actively managing the crises. They need customized AI and IoT tools to study their assets’ health and remove any impending defects. The technologies also make this process quicker, more efficient, and secure.

Data Monetization

While data can offer immense value to organizations on their products, services, customer expectation, and market demand, how they can extract tangible benefits that impact the bottom line is critical. A McKinsey Survey on data and analytics found that an increasing number of companies are using data and analytics to generate growth and thinking more critically about monetizing their data, as well as using data in more ways to create value for customers. Successful data monetization requires a careful approach that focuses on the highest-value opportunities consistent with an organization’s overall strategy.

Most companies have discovered how data can be leveraged in day-to-day operations to reduce costs and grow revenues. Yet, only one in twelve is making optimal use of their data for enhanced decision-making and revenue benefits. Businesses can improve their “earnings per byte” by not only maximizing value creation internally (through cost reduction and revenue growth) but also create a market for their highly valuable data and insights. This two-pronged approach will imply that they are reinventing the game and securing market dominance early on.

Reality Technologies

With several economies in lockdown and a significant chunk of the global workforce working from their homes, technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) can drive remote collaboration and build resilience. From providing an effective alternative to workforce training needs to enabling maintenance and repair, product service, product development, production operations, field audit, inspection, and sales and marketing functions, AR/VR can enable real-time information sharing across organizations. This is especially relevant for aerospace, energy, and manufacturing sectors.

AR/VR is the keystone example of how businesses will redefine their processes for real business benefits going forward. The growing deployment of these technologies has encouraged engineering service providers to explore their full potential and bring more AR/VR-assisted products, services, and business models to the market.

COVID-19 is not a short-term crisis. This pandemic has highlighted the need for innovative ways of managing business and new strategies that organizations must deploy to ensure and even address future challenges. In this time of uncertainty, companies need to start using technology strategically to be able to make well-informed decisions and to manage their business operations better. COVID-19 situation is the right time to fast-track the digital transformation and leverage digital tools to rethink business models and stay a step ahead of the competition.

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Key amendments proposed in Taxation Amendment Bill, 2020

The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation of Certain Provisions) Ordinance 2020 (the Ordinance) was promulgated on 31 March 2020, in order to ease compliance burden on taxpayers due to outbreak of COVID-19.

The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxations and Amendments of certain Provisions) Bill 2020 (Taxation Bill 2020) passed by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha seeks to replace the Ordinance and to further amend the Income-tax Act, 1961, Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017, Finance Act, 2019, the Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Act, 2020 and the Finance Act, 2020.

Key amendments proposed in the Taxation Bill 2020 are summarised below:

A. Faceless Assessment Scheme

On 13 August 2020, Prime Minister launched the ‘Transparent Taxation’ platform encompassing faceless assessments, faceless appeals, etc. CBDT also issued notifications to amend the E- Assessment Scheme and to implement the Faceless Assessment Scheme under Section 143(3A). The Taxation Bill propose that faceless assessment scheme will be incorporated under the Income Tax Act from April 2021

Enabling provisions have also been inserted to carry out the following functions in a faceless manner, to the extent that it is technologically feasible:

  • Reassessments and revisions
  • Transfer Pricing Proceedings
  • Approvals and registration
  • Appeal proceedings before the ITAT
  • Appeal Effect
  • Initiation of prosecution
  • Rectification Proceedings
  • Stay and recovery
  • Lower/Nil withholding and TDS proceedings

Schemes defining detailed procedure and conduct is yet to be notified.

New mode of communication – It has been proposed to introduce S. 144B(7) which provides that any notice/order or any other communication shall be by way of:

  1. Placing an authenticated copy thereof in taxpayer’s registered account; or
  2. Sending an authenticated copy thereof to the registered email address of taxpayer/ his authorised representative; or
  3. Uploading an authenticated copy on taxpayer’s mobile App of the tax department, followed by a real time alert.

B. Due date of various compliances:

On 31 March 2020, the President had promulgated the Ordinance, to provide relaxation in certain provisions and extension of various due dates. On 24 June 2020, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had issued a Notification and a Press Release to further extend various due dates.

Originally, an extension was provided for due dates falling between 20 March 2020 and 29 June 2020. This was extended to 31 December 2020. Similarly, the time limit for completion or compliance of various actions falling under 20 March to 31 December 2020 was extended to 31 March 2021.

The Taxation Bill proposes to ratify such extensions and reliefs provided through the Ordinance and Notifications. The Taxation Bill does not provide any further relief or extension to taxpayers in relation to timelines for various compliances.

C. Lower tax deduction/collection in certain cases for limited period

CBDT, vide its press release dated May 13, 2020, reduced the rates for Tax Deduction at Source (TDS) by 25% for non-salaried specified payments made to residents during the period from 14 May 2020 to 31 March 2021.

The Taxation Bill proposes to include the aforesaid amendments in the Income Tax Act with retrospective effect from 14 May 2020.

D. Amendments to residency rules for Indian citizen or Person of Indian Origin

One of the conditions to trigger residency in India was that an individual should be present in India for at least 60 days in the relevant financial year and 365 days in past four years. In case of an individual being a citizen of India or Person of Indian Origin (PIO) who, being outside India, comes on a visit to India, the threshold is 182 days.

Finance Act, 2020 reduced this period of stay in India from 182 days to 120 days for an Indian citizen or a PIO having India sourced income exceeding INR1.5m. However, it was not clear whether such an individual need to be based outside India and comes on a visit to India to trigger this rule.

The Taxation Bill proposes to clarify that the new rule will apply to an Indian citizen or PIO who, being outside India, comes on a visit to India.

E. Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM-CARES Fund)

The Taxation Bill seeks to provide tax exemption for contributions made to PM-CARES Fund, which was set up in March in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Further, 100% deduction is available of the sum contributed to PM CARES Fund under S. 80G.

F. New registration process applicable to charitable entities and research institutions

Finance Act 2020 had prescribed a new registration process wherein existing registered charitable entities and research institutions registered under various provisions of the Income Tax Act to make an application under new registration regime for continuing their registration.

The Taxation Bill proposes that provisions governing new registration regime for charitable entities and research institutions registered under various provisions of Income Tax Act shall be effective from 1 April 2021 (instead of 1 October 2020) and the old regime of registration will continue till 31 March 2021.

G. Capping of surcharge on dividend income of Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs)

The rate of surcharge levied on dividend income derived by FPIs (structured as Trusts, Association of Persons (AOP), Body of Individuals (BOI), individuals) has been capped at 15%, thereby reducing the dividend tax rate to 23.92% opposed to erstwhile tax rate of 28.5%

Changes proposed in the Taxation Bill are a welcome move by the central government. The amendments will enable the taxpayers to adhere to the compliance requirement in this critical situation of Covid-19 pandemic.

We hope you will find the update useful.

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NASSCOM submits feedback on Draft Health Data Management Policy

The National Health Authority (NHA) had released the Draft Health Data Management Policy (NHD Policy) for public comments on 26 August 2020. The deadline for providing feedback to NHA was 21 September 2020.

Based on the inputs received from the industry, NASSCOM submitted its feedback on 21 September 2020.

Given that the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, (PDP bill) which is currently being considered by the Parliament, is a horizontal legislation that would cover privacy of health/ medical data also, the interplay between PDP bill and NHD policy was carefully considered. Our submission was, thus organised in the following manner.

  • Key issues that the NHA may raise with the JPC to ensure that the vision set forth in the draft Policy is consistent with the PDP Bill.
  • Key areas where the NHA may advise the DPA towards framing industry codes of practices relating to mechanisms being adopted in the draft Policy
  • Standalone areas where the NHA may start implementing mechanisms recommended in the draft Policy Our submission is attached.

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Reasons Why Organizations Fail While Trying to Stay Relevant And How to Overcome Them

Every business aims to succeed and grow aggressively. The innate goal of most businesses is to gain an edge over their competitors and be agile enough to cope with the changing market trends and preferences.

However, after identifying the need to bring about significant changes in order to stay relevant, most businesses often rush through the entire process without much planning. They tend to skip the initial steps and hastily move from one phase to another, ultimately leading to futile results.

Here are reasons why organizations fail while trying to stay relevant and how you can overcome them:

  • Leadership: The leadership of a business is responsible for its growth. Ensuring proper planning and management to follow through with the execution plans, facilitating a conducive work culture, ensuring that the goals are being met all of which is the responsibility of the leadership . In order to lead a successful change, you must work towards building competencies such as learning, decision making, communication, trust-building, and strategic direction, which are the characteristics of transformational leaders. Leaders who are unwilling to enhance these competencies will find it difficult to envision a transformation for their businesses, adapt to changing environments, effectively communicate the need for change, or successfully enroll stakeholders in the process which ultimately leads to failure.
  • Planning: Poor planning and undefined goals will hamper the transformation of your business with unfulfilled targets and weak performance. The absence of a strong vision statement or an unclear definition of the future state of your organization, and confusion about the big moves creates chaos and uncertainty in the organization. To succeed, you must set a clear long-term roadmap that separates your initiatives into quick wins, big moves and breakthrough projects, allocate budget for human, financial, and infrastructural resources required for change, and define governance measures to track and manage progress. Roles and responsibilities must be assigned appropriately, and everyone should be on the same page with respect to the transformation process.
  • Agility: Businesses that are rigid and more closed in their approach often fail to adapt and evolve, thereby facing multiple challenges while transforming. Your business must be flexible and open to change while re-innovating itself. When you begin to tread the path towards change, you will encounter different situations and obstacles that will compel you to pause, reflect, and then correct your current practices and trends. In situations like these, you are likely to benefit if you are more agile and receptive to changing the status quo. Regular reviews and feedback from stakeholders will help your business to determine its flexibility as you mediate through challenges. This flexibility will help you, as a leader, to adapt yourself and your business during emergencies enabling better business continuity during uncertainty.
  • Communication: Lack of communication or poor communication creates chaos and confusion, hampers enrollment and productivity, and finally leads to failure in achieving transformation goals. Effective communication also becomes important to resolve conflicts and make decisions while addressing change. You must establish an effective communication channel within your organization where every member of the organization is on the same page. The goal is to ensure that every stakeholder understands and recognizes the need for change so that everyone is enrolled and can contribute to the process of a successful transformation.
  • Change Management: The inability to enroll your stakeholders and hasty decision-making are the biggest impediments of change necessary for business growth. If you don’t identify the exact pain points of your business and make decisions without adequate deliberation, your business is bound to be impacted negatively. Effective change management involves assessing the present situation of your company and assessing the need for change. In situations like these, you must step up, exhibit faith in your company and develop a future roadmap for the same. An important aspect of the same is the sense of ownership displayed by the leadership, stakeholders, and employees together. Businesses that don’t take the onus often fail to transform their businesses.
  • Capability Building: Transformation is not a one person jobWithout building an effective team and the required capabilities, all efforts are bound to fail. You must ensure that you build a competent team to undertake different change initiatives that you have planned as a part of your transformation process. This involves identifying if your existing workforce can be equipped and trained or whether you would need to hire an additional member or a consultant. Factors such as your domain knowledge, skills required to lead change, and industry experience will determine your capacity to change. Additionally, your determination to stay relevant and grow will determine your readiness to lead high impact changes within your organization.

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Trusted Thinking Partnership between OEMs and ESPs (Engineering Service Partners)

Trusted Thinking Partnership between OEMs and ESPs (Engineering Service Partners)

Author: Dush Reddy, Global Business Head, QuEST Global

The first half-year has been extremely uncertain with the COVID-19 virus breakout impacting the global economy and causing large scale disruptions. Industries with heavy engineering dependence have been hit at large because of travel bans and lockdowns worldwide. Results are evident – worried businesses, volatile stock prices, and an uncertain future.

Customers across verticals are facing common challenges of supply chain interruptions while also managing remote engineering teams. Other challenges include reducing costs, becoming lean and agile while continuing to invest in current and new programs that are important to succeed in the changing business landscape. As a result, the needs of customers are dramatically shifting.

So, what are the evolving needs of customers? 

In the present context, the key focus of OEMs is to become lean and agile by not only reducing costs but also shifting from a fixed cost to variable cost model. This shift enables workforce/cost flexibility while not losing the capability to deliver on current and future projects. Almost all OEMs are currently faced with a similar requirement, and it is a massive transformation to manage.

While managing cost is the top priority for business sustainability, customers also have to ensure that they fulfil engineering commitments and business obligations as per the current demands. Despite their necessity to fulfil these engineering commitments, they are faced with the roadblocks of internal hiring freezes and planned headcount reductions. Even when cost optimization is important, they have to explore ways to invest in innovation and exponential technologies.

The role of ESPs in partnering with customers 

To enable customers to encounter their challenges, ESPs must reform their strategies to be on par with their customers’ changing needs. These challenges could vary from issues of cost reductions, fragmented and underperforming supply base, large pool of tactical suppliers (contractors), or a lack of strategic partnering mind-set. In such a scenario, a strategic ESP works with the customer to co-create a joint strategy for solving similar challenges. Such collaborative models can include engineering realignment, consolidation of suppliers, and best cost country strategies. Scope consolidation is also critical for end-to-end ownership and moving away from an ineffective piecemeal approach, which is also high-drag on the customer.

Such partnerships can result in more optimized engineering offloads (less staffing, more work-packages, co-developed solutions, co-investing, technology adoption), enhanced operational efficiencies, increased market competitiveness, enhanced delivery throughput, and much more.

The Strategic Partnership driving innovations 

This pandemic has paved the way for ESPs to play a more vital role with joint plans for working towards a shared vision. The future strategy requires an integrated, holistic approach to maximize savings and optimize value to build stronger strategic relationships. Both the customer and ESPs are required to provide strong sponsorship in order to ensure the necessary change management. This will ensure that their plans are implemented in a seamless, impactful way. It also requires establishing a dedicated partnership team comprising of key people from both ESP and the customer.

This kind of strategic partnership will not only reduce cost but free-up bandwidth across the customer’s organization. Today, customers are looking for cutting-edge transformations in the form of shifting from staffing to managed services, from multi-vendors to few preferred partners (supplier consolidation), accelerating innovation through technology adoption and engineering partners who take ownership of more work-scope (core/non-core realignment) – this is the new reality.

As the world is quickly transforming, ESPs have a crucial role in partnering with customers to advance society. Customers are looking for partners with leading-edge transformational ideas, solutions and not just engineering resources support. They are also looking for ways to leverage ideas and commercial innovation from other industries that can help solve their challenges. The opportunities are in abundance and I am confident that ESPs will get a larger share of the pie in this changing world. The key is to become the Trusted Thinking Partner to your customers.

About the Author

Dush Reddy, Global Business Head, QuEST Global

Dush has more than 20 years of experience in building and scaling engineering services partnerships with Fortune 100 companies. He specializes in scaling partnerships, building best-in-class technology hubs, and providing progressive engineering value to customers. As a Global Business Unit Head, Dush drives company’s business growth by building highly efficient customer centric teams. He spearheads engagements with customers, and has been leading the efforts to nurture and scale them to establish delivery centers across US, Europe, and Asia. Developing customer-centric Product Lifecycle solutions and building long-term, Trusted Thinking Partnerships are his core strengths. Over the years, Dush has sharpened his expertise in integrating high-technology local engineering companies with the global best-cost engineering teams to deliver a comprehensive, unique Local-Global solution that addresses the innovation requirements of customers in various industries.

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What to expect in cloud telephony in 2020?

What to Expect in Cloud Telephony Technology 2020?

Businesses nowadays are curating innovative methods to create a superior customer experience. Cloud telephony is one such technology that can revolutionize the way a company and customer interacts. With the rapid change in the market trends, one can also witness a change in consumer behavior perspective. Therefore, to offer a seamless and happy customer experience, implementation of cloud telephony solutions will retrieve effective outcomes. But before that it is vital to understand what it is and how it works.

What is Cloud Telephony?

A cloud telephony is an advanced technology that allows to connect various communication devices and software applications on a single platform. That platform is known as a hosted service which is offered by a service provider. The extraordinary feature of this technology is that it does not require any “on-premise devices, as in no CAPEX requirements. It can simply be configured on any device through a quick plug and play method via CRM integration. Also, the uniqueness of this technology is that you can get it installed in your existing CRM tool, meaning you do not need to switch to a new tool. It only makes your existing tool faster and smarter.

Benefits of Using Cloud Telephony

Inclination of Companies towards creating a superior impact has pulled them more towards data analytics, real-time analytics, remote access, automation, AI and Machine Learning. Thus, every business can outperform with their services to excel in creating a cost-effective solution that will serve them in the longer run.

  • Easy to use/User-friendly: It allows you to stay connected from anywhere & anytime via a single secured login in real-time. A simplified online dashboard that allows the relationship manager and its agents to be connected on the same platform.
  • Customized Solutions: Cloud telephony can be easily integrated with any leading CRM and helps you get started within hours, without switching to a new CRM tool. And due to this feature, there are added benefits of customizing the solutions as per the business needs.
  • Data Security: Get access to a secured platform that maintains the data privacy of the customers as well as the company. Also there are additional features like restricted account login for every agent to limit the access of customer information.
  • Scalability: The best part of using cloud telephony is its scalability advantage. You can scale up and down your operations as per your requirement, Hence, an intringed opportunity to scale at ease.
  • Real-time Insights: Getting access to live monitoring and reports via real-time analytics dashboard will always keep you ahead of your competitors. It can also help you in strategic decision making as well.
  • Automation: By automating your sales and operations process for speedy closure of every day business will ensure customer satisfaction as well. This will also offer you to put in your strategy and efforts in other departments. AI also plays a role here in curating an explicit customer experience.

How various Industries are leveraging Cloud Telephony in Curating Unique Experiences?

Adoption of cloud telephony into multiple industrial verticals has proved beneficial in terms of creating a smooth customer engagement platform. Industry verticals like Education, E-commerce, BFSI, Logistics, Hospitality and more have implemented cloud based solutions and the outcome is magnificent.

Education industry is applying cloud telephony in getting quality prospects for admission and counselling. The complete process was conducted through smart solutions like Click to call and Cloud contact center.

E-commerce industry is using cloud telephony through cloud contact center and SMS software to serve their customers needs faster. Also, offered instant resolvement of queries by adding multi-level IVR system. It is a way of automating the communication process where a carefully curated multiple sub-menu is added through a human-like voice & it saves time as well.

BFSI industry is offering a secured line of communication between its customers and the relationship managers through Click to Call and Cloud Contact center with Number Masking and IVR system. This simplifies the process of communicating with the customers while maintaining data security as well.

Logistics industry has been embracing smart technology by incorporating solutions like inbound and outbound contact center with multi-level IVR system. It allows the customers to get their queries resolved quickly.

Thus, reinventing your customer communication experience will improve efficiency in serving your customers better.

The post What to expect in cloud telephony in 2020? appeared first on NASSCOM Community |The Official Community of Indian IT Industry.

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21st Century Workplace Automation : Beyond Bots!

  • By Mr. Vikram Kumar, Co-Founder and Managing Director, SRV Media Pvt. Ltd

Speaking in general, automation is the use of technology where human involvement is at minimal. It can include everything like IT, marketing, business process, industrial and even covers areas like personal application automation and home automation.

The present article will focus basically on workplace automation while touching upon its origin, gradual evolution and finally exploring the workplace automation in the 21st Century and the future trends.

Interestingly, the term automation has its origin way back in 1940  at the Ford Motor Company when it meant automatic handling of the parts used in metalwork processes.

The term gained a broader meaning by Norbert Weiner, an American mathematician during the development of cybernetics ( dealing with the science of communications and control systems in machines and animals).

With the development of powered machinery and introduction of powered equipment in production, operations and manufacturing processes, automation gradually evolved to control systems like production, handling and distribution. Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) were the next big things automation offered.

Modern workplace automation began in around 2005 with the introduction of Business Process Management (BPM). It helped in automating, monitoring and optimizing business processes using software to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

Likewise, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) used software bots to perform repetitive, routine tasks that knowledge workers need to perform. Reducing the time from months to mere hours. An IBM study reveals 91% of organisations use some sort of basic workplace automation.

2011 brought a new chapter of automation when Apple’s Siri used artificial intelligence, a trend that started moving away from physical robots to more sophisticated, computerised automation using AI software.  A drift that gradually started redefining workplace automation.

Modern Business Workplace Automation

Integration Automation

The next level of workplace automation is the integration automation where machines mimic human tasks and repeat them once these are defined in the machine rules.

An example includes Intelligent Automation which is a combination of RPA and artificial intelligence (AI). What RPA does is just automating the work without any variation. But intelligent automation integrates the capabilities of RPA with the bots that use AI to learn and adapt to data in real-time.

Around 27% of organisations are using intelligent automation to automate workflows across various systems needing complex calculations involving discrete AI functions.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) automation

The most advanced and complicated level of automation or the culmination of automation till now that the 21st-century businesses are using is artificial intelligence automation.

Here machines can actually “learn” and make decisions taking cues from past situations encountered and analysing them.

Around 12% of organisations are using AI automation where robots with autonomous decision-making capabilities are employed that can interact with humans by way of using advanced algorithms and various types of artificial intelligence.

AI automation can scan millions of documents in the blink of an eye helping in various processes like reviewing legal contracts, giving medical treatment suggestions, claims analysis and much more.

Companies use AI intelligence to personalise customer experiences, improve business decision making and forecasting.

Future Trends

Evolvement of new software along with RPA will help machines to observe better, learn from human patterns and optimise them.

Machine learning is definitely going to revolutionize work and the workplace, both. Some forecasted trends could be:

Hyperautomation

Hyperautomation is a term used to describe the merging of machine learning, software and automation tools to maximize automation processes in the workplace to augment productivity fast.

By combining a range of cognitive processes with automation technologies it will deliver intelligence and power both and the power to convert intelligence into action.

Minimal or No-Code Workflow Software

Workflow software will require minimal coding to make the process automation more accessible to the entire organisation

Intelligent & Augmented Capabilities

AI-based systems will remember, reason and predict, leading to improved ability to learn and interact.

While these are just a few possible trends, more could be in the offing just waiting for the time to unfold.

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NASSCOM Submits Feedback on the draft National Health Data Management Policy

The draft National Health Data Management Policy (draft Policy/NHDM), was released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) for public consultation in August 2020. The draft Policy follows the path set out by the Government of India under the National Health Policy, 2017 (NHP), envisioning the creation of a seamless nationwide digital health ecosystem, and sets forth a framework to ensure “privacy by design” in the implementation of the National Digital Health Ecosystem (NDHE).

NASSCOM reached out to members for their inputs on the draft Policy on 7 September 2020. Subsequently, NASSCOM organised an online policy round-table on 17 September 2020 to discuss the feedback received. Earlier yesterday, NASSCOM submitted its feedback on the draft Policy (full submission is attached).

In the submission, NASSCOM highlighted the key role played by the National Health Authority (NHA) as a specialised implementation agency for the components envisaged under the National Digital Health Blueprint (NDHB) and attaining the goals of the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM). Accordingly, NASSCOM urged the NHA to play a key role in the formulation of the Codes of Practice to be issued by the Data Protection Authority (DPA) proposed to be set up under the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 (PDPB 2019), on issues relating to health data.

NASSCOM appreciates the emphasis placed by the draft Policy upon the need for an interoperable health-data sharing framework, based around the principle of primacy of individual consent, and exploring mechanisms for a consent management framework, by inter alia recommending the creation of a consent manager framework, and creation of consent-artefacts that capture a data principal’s consent relating to his/her health and medical records. Likewise, given the nascent stages of the framework, NASSCOM appreciates the voluntary nature of participation in the NDHE, and the emphasis placed upon the principle of non-exclusion.

Moreover, NASSCOM noted that there are several aspects specific to health data that have been considered under the draft Policy, such as the recognition of the distinction between health and medical record data, and identifier data, which could be vital inputs towards finalising the PDPB 2019. Accordingly, NASSCOM suggested that the MoHFW may consider raising such inputs with the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) currently tasked with reviewing PDPB 2019 and recommending amendments to the PDPB 2019.

Accordingly, our specific recommendations relate to:

1. Key issues that the NHA may raise with the JPC to ensure that the vision set forth in the draft Policy is consistent with the PDP Bill;

2. Key areas where the NHA may advise the DPA towards framing industry codes of practices relating to mechanisms being adopted in the draft Policy;

3. Standalone areas where the NHA may start implementing mechanisms recommended in the draft Policy.

Overall, NASSCOM highlighted the need for greater harmonisation with the PDPB 2019, while keeping in view concerns specific to the management of health data in the NDHE. Should you have any queries in relation to the submission, please write to Jayakumar@nasscom.in or indrajeet@nasscom.in.

The post NASSCOM Submits Feedback on the draft National Health Data Management Policy appeared first on NASSCOM Community |The Official Community of Indian IT Industry.

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