Nitin Rakesh, CEO of Mphasis, highlights how next-gen technologies will drive businesses during the pandemic and in the future.
How are Cloud, Blockchain and AI changing the way businesses work and which are the sectors with the most visible impact
In the last few years, next-generation technologies have accelerated in their maturity, and enterprises have had no choice but to reimagine and modernise traditional business models or get left behind the curve. I believe that we've seen the biggest impact across the banking, payments and insurance industries, where the advent of neo challengers (such as Lemonade and Monzo) has sped up digital adoption and a cloud-first strategy by legacy players.
To remain competitive and meet changing consumer demands, companies are realising the importance of a customer-centric approach. Cloud and AI solutions provide an unprecedented level of agility and allow them to hyper-personalise products and services through predictive analytics. By moving away from legacy systems, and with the efficiencies of scale offered by public cloud architecture, businesses can reduce costs and manual effort while speeding up the route to market.
There have also been more use cases emerging for blockchain-powered solutions across industries. In B2B commerce and trade, for instance, it has allowed for a greater level of supply chain management - thanks to the efficiency, speed, security and transparency of blockchain. Cross-border payments and digital currencies will continue to gain more mainstream traction and cryptography will also re-define the cyber security sector.
What is the role being played by advanced technologies in the current global crisis?
Technology is playing a crucial role, as highlighted by the UK Prime Minister, who has encouraged leading technology companies and AI experts to direct their strengths into fighting the pandemic. The application of innovative technologies can equip society and businesses to navigate the immediate challenge and to thrive in the longer term. For segments including pharma and healthcare, AI is enabling services that can save lives - via telehealth and bolstering NHS capacity and safety when it is most needed, such as online consultations - and aids vital research in treatment. With concerns mounting for the macroeconomic ramifications of the current situation, other sectors are relying on technology to get them through. For instance, banks are optimising customer support by offering digital platforms to guarantee seamless service and business continuity. AI, machine learning and other cognitive innovations can help drive cost and operational efficiencies and allow virtualisation and resilience in the face of unexpected events. Through predictive algorithms and deep learning, businesses can shore up their sales process by analysing customer data and behaviours to refine products and services.
What excites you the most when you look ahead to some next-gen tech?
I'm excited to see how disruptive technologies will eventually form the crux of business strategy for organisations of all sizes, opening the door to further ground-breaking innovation. In particular, I think next-gen developments in natural language understanding (NLU) and natural language processing (NLP) will have the most transformative effect on how we approach data. The self-learning properties and growing sophistication of how these technologies interact with their environments mean that they can mirror the human brain.
I also look forward to advances being made in the fields of quantum computing which currently has increasing real-world relevance. Enterprises are already using quantum computing to design software for driverless cars and to model molecular interactions at atomic levels to fast-track time to market for new cancer-treating drugs. It is already being deployed by governments to trawl through huge datasets that alert intelligence agencies about potential terrorist threats. And while enterprises gear up for a cognitive future that will re-imagine how business is done in every industry, IT leaders must seize the incredible opportunities that await them. Perhaps the time has come to raise the bar and embrace newer, game-changing technologies that will change the course of tomorrow. The relationship between the most advanced technologies is a symbiotic one. In the next five years, the growth of AI will go hand in hand with accelerated adoption of cloud and multi-cloud, increasingly sophisticated SaaS platforms, and breakthroughs in quantum computing.
What makes the UK and Europe the key markets for Mphasis?
Mphasis has seen consistent growth in Europe and sees huge potential in the region as we stay committed to the geography which is the second-largest market after the US. It's also proving an attractive destination for many of our larger financial services clients and their expansion plans, who rely on Mphasis' expertise in their modernisation journey. For us, this market holds tremendous opportunity - particularly the UK & Ireland, France, Germany, Nordics and Benelux. On the cusp of a new digital era, there is great scope in the European landscape for service transformation to accelerate on the back of rapidly maturing technologies such as AI. Last year saw the release of new guidelines on the procurement of AI systems for government officials, with the UK being the first country to try them. This is a testament to the advanced role of technology for the country. Europe as a whole is a burgeoning hub for start-ups and traditional businesses alike and is at the forefront of innovation. Although it is actually accelerating at a faster rate than the US when it comes to service transformation, many organisations remain hampered by legacy systems and are struggling to digitalise. During the current turbulent times, we're more dedicated than ever to being active in the region and playing a part in helping it reach the full potential of technological advancement.
How do you see the Indian market developing through the current crisis and beyond?
In this time of uncertainty, more and more businesses globally will embrace agility like never before. While enterprises pivoting to digital isn't new, the pandemic will accelerate the pace of digital transformation and the IT industry, mostly based out of India, will only benefit from the sudden surge in digital adoption. Banks and financial services organisations will be seen fast-tracking digitisation, integrating automation/bots, cloud, and cognitive technologies into their IT environment only to emerge from the crisis even stronger than before. The solid, foolproof business continuity plans and the constant technological progress of the IT industry will only bring in the confidence within enterprises to onboard and accelerate their digital transformation journey.
What are your top tips for Indian tech firms looking to expand in overseas markets?
Nothing can get as global as technology itself. So, there is nothing like an Indian tech firm, it's all global. While consumers continue to drive real technology disruption with the changing demand from enterprises, the pandemic has taken the disruption to another level. The need for agility by businesses to meet their ever-increasing pressures and to enable them to launch new products and services quicker, more so in the current uncertain times, is driving IT firms to be customer-obsessed technology organisations. Tech firms should help enterprises adopt and apply digital technologies to keep them relevant to their end customers and that is possible only if we become 'a driver in the driverless car'- the software that powers the world to every enterprise.