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“Fundamentally, it’s all about transforming the customer experience!” With Anupam Singhal & Fotis Georgiadis

A huge piece of that digital transformational puzzle is the implementation of AI. While everyone understands what AI is on a basic level, very few understand how it can be best used to not only optimize internal processes and automate mundane tasks, but also serve as a building block for a digital-centric enterprise. We’re working […]

A huge piece of that digital transformational puzzle is the implementation of AI. While everyone understands what AI is on a basic level, very few understand how it can be best used to not only optimize internal processes and automate mundane tasks, but also serve as a building block for a digital-centric enterprise. We’re working with some of the world’s largest banks, insurance companies, mortgage lenders, and more — to help them best utilize AI in a way that not only enables digital transformation but also empowers them to adapt to the changing demands that their customers impose on them. With AI, financial institutions are equipped to identify trends among recurring service requests and complaints — allowing them to templatize new solutions and capabilities that bridge these experiential pitfalls.

As a part of our series about cutting edge technological breakthroughs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Anupam Singhal. Anupam is the SVP and business unit head, of banking, financial services and insurance at Tata Consultancy Services. Anupam Singhal has been with Tata Consultancy Services since 1993. He heads the banking, financial services and insurance unit for U.S. East and sponsors the relationship for one of TCS’ largest customers. In his early career at TCS, he was in TCS products marketing group for a few years. He is a graduate of the prestigious AMP program at the Harvard Business School and holds a master’s degree in business administration as well as a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Singhal is deeply focused on building strong client relationships and delivering an exceptional customer experience. He strongly believes that today’s digital technologies backed by artificial intelligence, cloud and agile bring superior user experience, enabling businesses to scale up, become nimble and be more competitive in the marketplace.


Thank you so much for doing this with us, Anupam! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Today, most of the CEOs of the BFSI companies talk about technology as core to the success of the company. They are investing significantly in AI/ML, Blockchain, UX, Cloud to deliver superior customer experience focusing on Segment of 1. In my past 25 years at TCS, I have been involved with multiple large clients of TCS — working with them to bring digital led thought leadership to those organizations. When TCS’ CEO articulated Business 4.0 to bring digital transformation to drive behavior at our customer organization, I was asked to lead TCS’ BFSI business in the US East, to bring the power of Business 4.0 to these segments. I am very excited as I can bring my experience in bringing digital to our client’s organization in assisting them in their strategy to bring technology to deliver superior business outcomes to their stakeholders.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

We have a very long relationship with one of the fortune 100 companies. As they were transforming themselves into a managed services model, we realized the need to articulate and amplify on the value messaging of the tremendous work that TCS team did for them over past 25 years and avoid the perception as commodity supplier. That led to a relationship-wide drive on enabling the team to leverage power messaging and their contextual knowledge, resulting in value delivery of more than $1.4 billion through implementation of more than 3400 proactive ideas and Lean Six Sigma projects, delivered more than 50 quarters beyond just delivering the contractual SLAs and productivity commitments. This changed the game and elevated the positioning of TCS associates from “contractors” to “contextual masters” and collectively at the relationship level from a supplier to a “partner”. This mindset helped us to quickly adapt to helping the same customer in transforming them from Industrial to Digital Industrial Company resulting in TCS being recognized as Digital Innovator. Some of the TCS’ thought leadership ideas like TCS Digital Store & TCS Melting pot enabled this recognition. This was a very fulfilling journey for my team & I that we are very proud of.

Can you tell us about the “Bleeding edge” technological breakthroughs that you are working on? How do you think that will help people?

At TCS, we are always striving to be at the forefront of technological innovation. In our TCS Digital Store, we now have 100s of new tech-based “killer apps” resulting from our Digital garage POCs, POTs and productionized solutions in areas like Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, IOT, API/Microservices, Cloud, DevOps & others.

Our “Mastering Business 4.0” playbook on reimagining customer journeys, business outcomes and applying Tech Innovation (the art of possible) along with an implementation strategy (the art of practical) is helping our customers understand the opportunity, risk and investment needed to successfully transform legacy businesses into successful Business 4.0 enterprises.

A huge piece of that digital transformational puzzle is the implementation of AI. While everyone understands what AI is on a basic level, very few understand how it can be best used to not only optimize internal processes and automate mundane tasks, but also serve as a building block for a digital-centric enterprise. We’re working with some of the world’s largest banks, insurance companies, mortgage lenders, and more — to help them best utilize AI in a way that not only enables digital transformation but also empowers them to adapt to the changing demands that their customers impose on them. With AI, financial institutions are equipped to identify trends among recurring service requests and complaints — allowing them to templatize new solutions and capabilities that bridge these experiential pitfalls.

How do you think this might change the world?

Fundamentally, it’s all about transforming the customer experience!

On the consumer or employee experience, the pointed recommendations that we get by connecting our calendars events — like recommended travel time, route based on the maps/traffic integration, recommended best ride sharing option between Uber/Lyft/Trains/others, suggested contacts based on visiting places, suggested favorite places like nearest “Starbucks”, automated discussion/minutes recordings, suggested action owners and so on.

We see the same behavior and expectations in the enterprise world by the users, across all levels in the organization — resulting in collectively transforming organizations. For example: as illustrated by the “Oliver Wyman Analysis” there is a significant difference in the business outcomes between group of the existing banks and group of digital challengers like the average cost to acquire a new current account customers can drop from $150 to $30, days from application to account use drops from 3 days to 0 days, time to launch a new feature drops from 3–6 months to 2 weeks, retail banking customers per FTE increase from less than 1000 to more than 2500.

We are witnessing (and in many cases driving) this holistic change across our customers by leveraging our playbook. Digital has also redrawn the traditional concepts of static resources. Instead of making the best of scarce resources, our customers can now harness abundance of capabilities (information), Capital & Talent.

For example: Today, even if an existing bank customer wants to apply for a home mortgage, she or he needs to furnish all the information and documents all over again & the entire cycle time is anywhere between 30–60 days resulting in bad customer experience, delay in revenue, customer attrition & high cost for the bank. By harnessing the abundance of information that they already have about the customer either within their systems (360 view) or with third parties like title agencies, W2s, credit agencies etc. — the entire process is being made seamless and touchless with help of APIs, AI, Blockchain technologies.

AI is changing the ways banking, financial services & Insurance businesses operate across the board. For example, take Voice to Text technology. A seemingly simple technology at face value, correct? When utilized in congruency with AI, voice to text integration opens a totally new world of potential for banking and financial service organizations.

For example, if a customer calls a bank to discuss a problem with their account or with a question on a specific branch, AI can understand the context of the conversation as it occurs in real time. The data gathered from this one conversation can be compared against data gathered from thousands of other conversations to help understand what experiential gaps need to be filled by the bank. It can also help banks understand how consumers perceive their product and service offerings, which enables them to make adjustments in real-time.

AI also delivers unparalleled hyper-personalized experiences. By analyzing the service history and voice to text data of an individual, banks will be able to anticipate what a person is calling about at any given time with a certain degree of confidence, prior to even picking up the phone.

The next generation of consumer values convenience and immediacy over all else. AI doesn’t only help organizations deliver on this, but it lets them deliver exceptional experiences along the way.

Keeping “Black Mirror” in mind can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

AI itself is not going to cause any harm. There are people who are still needed in the equation to direct and interpret data from AI. Any technology can be misused; and AI is of course no different. But the idea that AI will become “sentient” is unsupported by current trends and use cases.

That being said, the real drawbacks with adoption are doing so without strategic purpose. Enterprises should not implement AI (or any technology) for the sake of implementation. There are several variables that need to be considered and carefully planned out in order for successful digital transformation.

What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?

By enabling the companies to recognize a strong and urgent need in harnessing the abundance of capital & Talent. We are helping our customers to flip their budgets from Run to Change. By applying Machine first models they are able to take out anywhere from 30% to 50% of their current spend on “Run” and redirect that towards the growth capabilities. For example: in last 2 years, we were able to reduce L1 team of 250 people to almost 0 for a leading investment management firm by applying “MFDM” and in parallel we blueprinted a change roadmap to create a “digital twin” platform to automate front office, middle office and back office operations.

Design Thinking has been a great way to help business leaders, IT and Operations come together to reimagine customer journeys and business outcomes in a traditional way and in the last 12 months we have conducted over 26 such workshops across a variety of banking, capital markets and insurance customers. This has helped C-level decision makersunderstand the potential value that digital transformation can provide when implemented throughout the entire enterprise.

Secondly, re-skilling and upskilling of current workforce is integral to successful adoption. It’s important to not disrupt the workforce in a negative way when integrating this or any digital technology. The role of teller, mortgage lender, and more are not going to become obsolete through the integration of AI, ML, or automation. Instead, their roles and responsibilities are going to change, and that transition needs to be seamless in order to deliver exceptional customer experiences.

What have you been doing to publicize this idea? Have you been using any innovative marketing strategies?

TCS understands that businesses will need to undergo large-scale digital transformation, and fast, if they wish to survive in the Business 4.0 era. As a company, we decided to organize that digital transformation process into four distinct behaviors to evaluate whether or not an organization is ready for Business 4.0 — driving mass personalization, embracing risk, leveraging ecosystems, and creating exponential value. We’ve also developed frameworks to help our customers successfully adopt these behaviors, such as the Machine First Delivery Model (MFDM).

Each of our customers are at different stages of adoption of these four key behaviors, so there really is no “one size fits all” approach. We evaluate the strengths and needs of each of our customers and develop tailored tactics and strategies to help them become not only ready for Business 4.0, but leaders in their respective industries. “Winning in a Business 4.0 world” was a study that TCS conducted for over 1200 customers across industries and geographies and shared these insights with all our customers.

TCS Customer summits in US, UK, Europe & Asia brings over 300 customers together to articulate and amplify the success stories and a collective approach to solve this for our customers.

The TCS Innovation Forum is another very successful platform for our customers to learn and share.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn! You can reach me at https://www.linkedin.com/in/anupamsinghal/.

Twitter: @AnupamSinghal5

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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