In an exclusive conversation with Dataquest, Tanvir Khan, President, BPO, NTT DATA Services, talks about BPO sector in India and what is the company doing in the domain of intelligent automation solution and cyber security. Excerpts:
Q. What are the expected trends you will see in the market related to AI and machine learning?
From “we can do your work for less” to “we can transform your core business”, the BPO industry has come a long way in the last two decades. Indian entrepreneurs, in the early 1990s led the creation of a brand new business that is slated to reach $250B by 2022. Our discussions with the CXOs of a number of our large and medium clients across verticals have indicated the following trends:
- Almost all BPO deals in future will have a significant component of technology embedded in them, either through platform based service delivery or robotic process automation.
- Robotic Process Automation is now firmly on their roadmaps. Although evidence of successful full-scale implementation is rare, most of the companies are either in the process of implementing or actively talking about PoCs.
- Almost everyone is looking to go beyond automating just the rote-based processes. There is a lot of interest in Intelligent Automation – can the machine reason like humans? This opens up a whole new line of Service Offering where machine learning and artificial Intelligence routinely provide insights into an organization’s business, the likes of which is only available thru expensive Consulting engagements today.
- One stop service delivery combining Technology platform, Automation, Analytics and manual processing in a BPaaS model is coming of age. Often times paired with Outcome pricing, this is becoming the essential backbone of large outsourcing engagements.
Spurred by the recent trends in sentimentalities associated with global sourcing these offerings are taking on urgent significance.
Q. How important is 5G for India, can you please throw some light on the same.
NTT has a long history of being pioneers in the cellular technology space. In 1998 NTT was the first one to launch the 3G network, in 2004 was the first to launch the 4G network and then again in 2013 launched World’s first 5G network in Japan. We see a future, not too far away when Robots (both physical and process) will be all over the place, in banks, coffee shops, homes, hospitals etc. In fact, in the processing space, this is fast becoming a reality even today. Unlike the independently operating robots you see in movies such as Star Wars, whose intelligence was built into its head, the intelligence of these robots will be in the cloud and they will require a huge amount of bandwidth to be constantly connected to be able to leverage the AI from their host intelligence source in the cloud. A very high bandwidth, all-pervasive network is a must for this to happen, and maybe 5G is the answer to that, and if not the answer, at least the stepping stone.
Q. Can you please tell us about the work NTT DATA Services has been doing in the domain of intelligent automation solution and cybersecurity?
Intelligent Automation Solution:
NTT DATA with its deep technology R&D focus and global reach has been executing a comprehensive long-term strategy to provide next-gen business solutions to our clients, true to our core value “Foresight”.
We believe that any significant BPO deals of the future will have technology innovation as its mainstay. Following are some of the technology-based innovations that we are planning for 2018 to significantly transform the BPO Service delivery landscape.
- NTT DATA’s BPaaS Platform aggregates our indigenous Workflow management system NTT DATA DBPMS (Dynamic Business Process Management Suite) and NTT DATA SIA engine (Solution for Intelligent Automation) to provide our clients with a comprehensive, configurable, fungible and massively scalable technology-based BPO solution that seamlessly amalgamates human and robotic workforce.
- Over 2000 BOTS have already been implemented running on NTT DATA SIA RPA solution; built on the latest Cognitive, AI and Deep Learning technologies. We have a roadmap of implementing about 500 more in 2018.
- NTT DATA is one of the largest service providers in the Healthcare Payer market. We are utilizing significant R&D resources in FY2018 to develop a cloud-based BPaaS platform that is vertical specific, with native data exchange interfaces to most of the major Payer processing platforms. We are already building this as part of our deal model providing significant business advantages to our clients.
- Utilizing our domain expertise, NTT DATA is building several technology based solutions such as neural network powered Denial Likelihood Scoring for Insurance claims that will directly affect the core of our client’s business. We are of the firm opinion that clients are now looking beyond the cost arbitrage and delivery excellence to how we can help them transform their core business.
- Over the past two years, we have charted a strong partnership with the top Automation Software Providers. Together with our own SIA, we have built the foundation for a multi-domain RPaaS (Robotic Process as a Service) practice. We have already over a dozen clients who are at various stages of our RPaaS implementation. We foresee this fast becoming one of our growth practices.
With support of NTT DATA’s vast resources, global reach and strong partnership with NTT DATA R&D, we believe we have technologies, products and solutions in place to become the BPO market leader over the next years.
Cybersecurity for the BOTS:
Bots are increasingly taking over repetitive yet critical tasks like paying invoices, opening bank accounts or monitoring life-support equipment. But are they really secure? Bots are after all made from software code and just like other codes, have the potential to be manipulated to do tasks other than originally intended, such as provide information to an imposter, send payments fraudulently to a wrong account or shut down medical systems.
All of these have actually happened within the past twelve months! We have seen high profile security breaches across banks and hospitals and retailers, where critical information has been stolen or compromised. These have resulted in huge losses for companies and worse still, dented their trustworthiness and reputation.
So, how can companies ensure that the bots they create are secure?
We at NTT DATA understand that to ensure security, codes behind process bots need to maintain the highest standards of cyber security, by undergoing rigorous vulnerability assessment and penetration testing before deployment. We have also ensured that we have an integrated security alert and reporting mechanism that is monitored throughout the deployment.
Blockchain will strengthen/enhance cyber security on two fronts – better access control and better data protection, (not so much against hackable holes in code). We still need secure development methodology, ecosystem security assurance and ongoing penetration testing to let cyber secure BOTS drive automation across the enterprise. It is only after you have done the basics that you should approach “enhancements” and Blockchain is definitely one but the not the only tool in our arsenal.
Over the past several decades, each industry has developed a comprehensive set of security protocols for human operators that have been codified in regulatory policies such as HIPPA and SOX. With automation increasingly taking over the roles of these human operators, the concerted effort is required to develop similar regulations for process bots. NTT DATA, working with other companies and regulatory authorities is helping formulate these policies to keep our processing environment safe and secure.
Q. Robots and AI will be the future of the industry, Can you tell us how you plan to work with Robots and humanoids.
NTT DATA Intelligent Automation platform is designed with futuristic technology to cater to the industrial need for cognitive data analytics. It is equipped with Next-Gen AI framework powered with Deep Learning technology. It consists of several core components to slice/dice data and use AI methodologies to predict and prescribe the analytics results using Artificial Neural Network.
As an Example, let’s talk about our AI-powered Claims Denial Likelihood Prediction Platform: Current revenue cycle management solutions struggle to detect complex denial patterns – Rejected or denied claims represent hundreds of billions of dollars in lost revenue for healthcare organizations each year, costing them about 5% of their net revenue stream. While the recommended rate of denials is under 4%, the actual rate for many healthcare organizations is around 20%. The most efficient way to reduce the amount of lost revenue.
Traditional approaches to identifying the causes of claims denial are rudimentary and require manual investigation of individual claims. NTT DATA’s DLS tool (Denial Likelihood Scoring) draws on the power of this intelligent automation platform to advance the discovery of denial patterns within a hospital’s claims data and improve revenue cycle management and also helps to increase collection value, reduce TAT and minimize rework cost.
NTT DATA’s DL Platform helps classify newly denied claims and prioritizes them for correction with prescriptive guidance based on how similar claims have been pursued successfully. It derives the root cause and solution using historical claims information with direct integration in Provider platform using AI and Deep learning technology and also with the process expertise coming from over 20 years of Healthcare service delivery. It then predicts claim denial status and provides a prescriptive solution using ANN concept. DLS tool has demonstrated 95% of Accuracy in predicting denials tested through analysis of 120,000 claims records.