Solution

Our strategy is not to build products but to only build solutions

Digital Transformation (DT) has been a buzz word for many years now but due to COVID-19, the process has been accelerated like never before.

The enterprise digital transformation journey is well on its way at the onset of 2020 and emerging technologies are changing the business landscape at the Business Strategies. IT leaders deal with pressure to show that digital initiatives continue to equate to increased agility and speed for the entire organization, however it will vary widely based on organization’s specific challenges and demands.

Hinduja Global Solutions is a business process management (BPM) organization. HGS is helping make its clients more competitive every day. HGS combines technology-powered services in automation, analytics, and digital with domain expertise focusing on back-office processing, contact centers, and HRO solutions to deliver transformational impact to clients.

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Natarajan Radhakrishnan, President and Global Chief Innovation Officer, tells us more. Excerpts:

DQ: How are you going in the direction of developing IT capabilities?

Natarajan Radhakrishnan: We are enhancing our IT capabilities both organically as well as inorganically. We’ve developed our IT capabilities internally in a couple of ways. One is by hiring new talent with excellent IT capabilities and second is by bringing together the existing capabilities under one single umbrella within the organization – HGS Digital (our DX and transformation brand).

We’ve also selectively acquired IT capabilities through tuck-in acquisitions – Element Solutions and AxisPoint Health are a case in point.

We try not to reinvent the wheel in every case; rather very carefully balance between ‘build’ and ‘buy’. Wherever possible, we buy an industry standard platform whether it is for internal needs or for clients. We partner with other software companies such as AWS, Twilio for cloud and Sprinklr for social care. Our approach is to leverage the industry best in class in a partnership model. Only if it is a very unique need, we try to build it ourselves.

DQ:  What are their challenges in this direction?

NR: One of challenges we had earlier was that we were known as a BPM company and attracting IT talent was difficult. We put together the HGS Digital brand, which showcases our IT offerings and in-house capabilities, and took it to engineering colleges and market to attract talent. Once people saw our service offerings and go to market, the situation became easier.

Similarly, clients used to feel that our strength was in the BPM space and selling IT work to them was another challenge. We started by selling BPM aligned IT work – such as RPA and analytics to our existing clients, especially in the healthcare segment and then started branching out to other verticals and newer clients. We majorly focused on those areas that are very close to our core BPM business.

DQ: What kind of IT products and solutions you would like to have?

NR: Our strategy is not to build products but to only build solutions… we will partner with product vendors with a laser focus. We focus on solutions in 3As – AI, Automation and Analytics, all powered by cloud. Another specialization is in Social Care where we have the industry leading EPIC solution.

DQ: Have you evolved any strategy for implementing the IT capabilities and infrastructure that they would like to install?

NR: We’re following the Amazon model. First, we develop and test it for our own use; then we offer it to clients. For example, we have built a proprietary top of the line internal data analytics platform, which addresses both operational and client requirements. Now that we have successfully deployed it internally, we’re now selling this capability to clients.

Similarly, we have automated a whole lot of internal processes. We’re using AI in Fit Index, early warning systems and recruitment management… we would now like to offer these to the clients.

DQ: What are your thought on digital transformation, now that 2020 has nearly passed?

NR: Digital Transformation (DT) has been a buzz word for many years now but due to COVID-19, the process has been accelerated like never before. Earlier a section of the organization was deploying DT, the current trend is that the entire company is focusing on it.

We were already on the path of internal automation but now we’ve accelerated our digital journey. A three-year plan has now become a 12-18-month plan, whether it is automation in HR, finance or in operations. We are implementing a whole lot of productivity tools, employee self-service tools and more.

DQ: How are you moving towards being more agile in future?

NR: All our projects and software delivery models are now agile. We have an ‘experiment but fail fast’ model. We’re also putting everything on cloud so that it’s easily scalable, manageable and the implementation is faster.

DQ: What are the new technologies you need to focus on, in future?

NR: We would like to focus on the 3As – AI, Automation and Analytics… more specifically in areas such as intelligent automation, cognitive contact center, and predictive analytics, all of them with embedded AI. We’re also looking at a ‘multi-tower’ approach to build solutions combining some of these capabilities. Often, we don’t use automation on a standalone basis – but combine it with analytics and AI, delivering everything as a service.

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