Write to us
A content writer who has worked for Infosys Technologies and other technology startups in India and abroad.
A freelance journalist with over 7 years of experience, she writes research-based analytical stories on technology and business.
Avanish is a Bangalore-based journalist who writes on business with a specific focus on technology companies.
Priyanka has covered every aspect of the IT industry as a tech journalist since its early days. She is now an independent writer, working on subjects like digital marketing, enterprise technology and high-performance computing, among others.
A freelance content writer, S. Sahu was the former editor of TCS's house magazine at Tata Consultancy Services. He developed tech marketing collateral for the company and helped compile and edit books and journal articles on TCS's technology innovations. He also ghostwrites print and online publications.
Prajwala is a Bangalore-based freelance journalist who writes on social issues, stories of human interest, and art and culture, among others.
Rajesh Nanarpuzha is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at IIM Udaipur. Previously, he has worked as a brand manager in Dabur, and as a business consultant in the retail and consumer goods domains at Cognizant and Tata Consultancy Services. Rajesh has an MBA from IIM Indore and a doctorate in marketing from IIM Ahmedabad.
Priyokumar Singh Naorem
He is a passionate UI & UX designer who thrives on creating engaging creative solutions.
A freelance illustrator, artist, graphic novelist and designer. She has designed and illustrated several book covers. Her personal illustrations so far have attempted to seize the fleeting absurdity and mood of places, things and people she encounters in a childlike, intuitive and expressive manner with closure, beauty and innocence – the things that she desires.
She is an artist and an educator who has taught and lectured at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Oxford University, the Victoria and Albert Museum among other institutions. Her installations, paintings, thread work and sculptures have been exhibited in Saatchi Gallery - London, C24 Gallery - New York, and Museum of Contemporary Art – Lyon, among other notable galleries and museums from around the world.
A commerce graduate from Delhi University, Parul pursued a masters in fine arts from Nottingham Trent University in the UK. As an artist, she is interested in line as a subject which has led her to follow architectural lines in built environments. She says she is also interested in how we perceive the environment that we inhabit and what happens when a subtle shift is made in things which we have been used to seeing in a certain way. We present six of her artworks here.
Shweta Malhotra is a graphic artist and designer from Mumbai, based in New Delhi.
After working with ad agencies and design studios for close to 8 years, she branched out on her own and currently works independently.s Her overall design aesthetic is minimal, bold and graphic, a response to the maximalist visual language prevalent in India.
Rithika Merchant (b.1986) received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Parsons the New School for Design, New York in 2008. She has exhibited extensively since her graduation. Recent exhibitions include a duo show “Reliquaries: The Remembered Self” at TARQ, Mumbai; “Language of the Birds: Occult and Art” at 80WSE Gallery, New York; and group shows at Summerhall, Edinburgh and Artry Gallery, Kochi. Her work has been included in multiple group shows at Stephen Romano Gallery and The Morbid Anatomy Museum, New York. Born in Mumbai, she now divides her time between Mumbai and Barcelona.
Aniruddh Mehta is an artist based out of Mumbai, India. Trained in graphic design from the London College of Communications, Aniruddh is a self-taught illustrator and currently works as an independent freelance designer. He believes in finding the right balance between art and graphic design. He has worked closely in collaboration with Bhavishyavani Future Soundz, Qilla Records, Taxi Fabric, Adidas, Dell and United Colours of Benetton. He also goes by the moniker, ‘thebigfatminimalist’ and his style ranges from bold minimal forms to more intricate pieces exploring patterns and geometry.
Paramesh is an artist who enjoys working in both the realistic and abstract style of painting. He loves working with water color. Featured in this issue are a set of water color works that he has created exclusively for us on the subject of digital transformation.
Based in Mumbai, Chandrashekhar Thakur is a Senior Art Director and Illustrator at Truebil.com and the Founder of HAPPiNESS For You. He loves working with new styles of art and considers illustration to be his forte. Chandrashekhar has completed his BFA from DY Patil College of Applied Art.
Concept and Direction
Head of marketing at Regalix, Nimish drives research in emerging technologies and customer experience, and takes a keen interest in creative arts.
A Gartner report suggests that AI technologies will be virtually pervasive in almost every new software product and service by 2020. Here, Sairam Vedam, CMO of Kore.ai, talks to us about the bots that global enterprises are building by leveraging the AI-powered chatbots platform of Kore.ai, where he drives Global Marketing, Positioning and Demand Generation. Vedam has been recognized by BBC Knowledge, World Marketing Congress & CMO Asia for his marketing leadership.
Kore.in specializes in AI and has an end-to-end, enterprise-grade platform for building, testing, and managing the life-cycle of AI-rich bots for use in any channel.
Interviewed by Prajwala Hegde
Artificial intelligence (AI) is ushering in a new era of customer experience management across industries. While, as a concept, AI has been around for close to 50 years now, it’s only in the recent past that it has seen tremendous adoption due to advances in big data, high-powered computing and algorithms. AI is an intrinsic part of the overall digital transformation within businesses.
Businesses are trying to build quality relationships and conversations through a plethora of channels through which their customers choose to communicate. According to Business Insider, “Providing customers with a personalized chat experience - even without a live agent on the other end - can help a business stand out and, more importantly, create new opportunities to transform repeat customers into influential advocates and evangelists.”
Today, enterprises are adopting AI to drive sales and customer engagement, improve operational efficiencies, enhance products with embedded AI, generate new insights and enable new business models. Chatbots use advanced functionalities such as contextual sign and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to create a more human-like response that’s in line with a customer’s query.
/ / Tell us about the bots you are developing for Facebook. With the emergence of chatbots, do you think there is a need for re-skilling people?
Kore.ai is the strategic partner of choice for Facebook, SAP and Cisco. The Kore.ai Bots Platform is one of the few approved solutions for building bots for Facebook Workplace. It includes all of the must-have components to design, deploy, and manage AI-powered bots that adhere to enterprise requirements, and address hundreds of business use cases. Kore.ai built chatbots can translate people’s text and voice commands to create and update system data, pull information or reports, answer questions from FAQs, documents and websites, and hold complex dialogs. It can be integrated into Work Chat, help people complete individual tasks more efficiently, and in Groups, to keep company and group members in the know. AI and bots will not replace people, but will complement high-level tasks in customer engagement.
/ / What are the emerging technologies, which are driving customer support at Kore.ai?
At Kore.ai, we believe the digital future can blend convenience and speed with a personal and human touch. Kore.ai’s endeavor has been to build solutions that allow people to communicate with companies, systems, and even smart machines, in the same way they’d talk to friends and colleagues. From that idea, we built a family of products that let companies harness the power of artificial intelligence-powered chatbots to change the digital paradigm.
Kore.ai is the only company with both an end-to-end, enterprise-grade platform for building, testing, and managing the lifecycle of AI-rich bots for use in any channel, and over 150 ready-made chatbots for any critical systems, functions and industries.
/ / Is 'Increase in self-service solutions' an emerging trend among customers? Elaborate.
Customers want to contact brands on channels that they prefer. The same holds true for self-service. Successful companies are making self-service solutions available to customers on every digital channel and accessible from every device - including from the products themselves when they’re part of the Internet of Things. Service and support can even be offered proactively based on feedback received from these connected objects. For example, a smart furnace could detect when its filter needs to be replaced and trigger the automated purchase and delivery of a new filter, with no effort required from the customer.
Self-service will also continue to get smarter. Companies will track more complex data, like the most-searched question by customer location, to enhance their knowledge base, hone their communication, and even fix product issues. In addition, they’ll begin using this robust data to develop an “opti-channel” strategy that determines the most effective channel to connect with each customer at every touch point.
/ / What is the impact of 'increasing automation' in businesses today?
Technology is making anticipatory service possible across all channels. Companies are using smart software to streamline or even automate proactive service instead of relying solely on the expensive time of live agents and employees at brick-and-mortar stores.
Your customers are more likely to share honest feedback with friends than with you. One way to compensate for this is by using a social listening software to provide anticipatory service. A retail brand could, for example, use the tool to discover a negative product review, connect the customer with a CRM record, and reach out through the customer’s preferred channel with personalized support or a goodwill offer. Or a bank could automate its proactive service by using a mobile push notification to alert a customer to possible fraudulent purchases on his credit card.
/ / What, according to you, is the role of customer support in delivering Customer Success?
The customer is at the center of customer success. While most digital transformation projects are aimed at making internal workflows more efficient, it's important not to overlook their potential for having a positive impact on customers.
Businesses are harnessing digital technologies and strategies to improve service levels and remove inefficient work practices. For your organization to truly embrace customer-centricity, your company’s culture needs to change, starting with your people and their job descriptions. Employees need to be empowered, and not just by replacing current tasks with digital ones. This is why a digital-transformation strategy is so important. It empowers – not replaces – people.
All organizations exist to deliver value to their customers. However, internal structures can hamper a customer-centric culture from within. Traditionally, companies have been organized around functional areas. And too often, silos exist between these different functions, which can create discontinuities in your customer’s experience.
Cross-channel continuity means that your customers can come into the organization at one human touchpoint and continue seamlessly through another, always getting a consistent message no matter who they’re dealing with within your organization. In this way, customer-centricity permeates your entire organization and becomes a vital part of how your employees work.
We’re starting to see organizations restructuring employees around their customers and implementing human touchpoints to combat these silos. The rise of the role of ‘Chief Customer Officer’ is the beginning of this way of thinking – a role that makes it someone’s job to think about the customer.
Social media: Supporting customers on the ‘edge’
Digital technologies make organizations function smoothly and business function processes efficient.
I think requests via social media are made more out of frustration
Kia Puhm, Head, KIA CX Consulting
Messaging through voice - that’s the trend that I see emerging in the near future
James Waters, Vice President, Customer Service, Booking.com
Top performing companies will use technology to make the human experience better
Ed Powers, Independent CX Consultant
AI-based chatbots are central to transforming CX for next-gen customers
Rajesh Balaji, Global Delivery Leader, Enterprise Application Service, Cognizant
I believe chatbots will be custom-built for different situations
Pradyot Ghate, Associate Vice President and Product Lead, Zomato
We live at crossroads of rapidly changing customer experience today
Immanuel Kingsley, VP and Head of Innovation Lab, Hexaware