Hackathons are gaining popularity in data science and the IT industry to help spot the right talent in a big way. We got in touch with Nidhi Khanna, Vice President Delivery at Ciber India, an IT consulting firm that largely relies on analytics. With 22+ years of experience, she has been instrumental in delivering profit-driven technology services and solutions and building high-performance teams. She joined Ciber in 2013 as the Emerging Technologies Practice Director, and since then has been instrumental in building technology practices, driving innovation and thought leadership in the organisation. She incubated the concept of Startup practice for technologies (like Mobility, AI, IoT & Analytics) and developed it to a matured delivery state. Here are some interesting insights from Khanna on how hackathons have become a key ingredient of the data science and analytics industry.
Analytics India Magazine: How have hackathons become a crucial part of the hiring process in the data science industry? Do you think hiring through hackathons will make hiring easier?
Nidhi Khanna: Hackathons are becoming increasingly popular in the hiring process for niche areas such as data science, by enabling organisations to evaluate technical skills far better than what is provided in resumes. Hackathons also provide the opportunity to assess the problem-solving approach and capabilities of an individual within the time constraint, which is a practical and very plausible real-life simulation that he or she may encounter in their role. Such assessments are not possible through traditional recruitment processes. Yes, Hackathons definitely makes the evaluation process easier, faster and helps in identifying the right candidate for a role.
AIM: Hackathons solve two purposes —people strategies and the other is solving use cases in an innovative way? Do you agree?
NK: In the ever-evolving technology industry, engaging people and keeping them challenged is the need of the hour in our domain. Hackathon is a great tool to inspire and nurture an innovation-focused culture within the organisation. It facilitates creative thinking and innovative solutions.
AIM: What is the main purpose of conducting a hackathon for you?
NK: Hackathon is one of the most effective and constructive ways to drive innovation internally and to engage people. It also provides a platform for consultants to collaborate and showcase their continuous learning.
AIM: Can you cite a recent example where you hosted a hackathon? Could you state the purpose?
NK: We have been conducting hackathons regularly for the last five years at Ciber, with a purpose of inculcating a culture of learning, innovation and creating the opportunity for all to ideate on go-to-market solutions. Each year we cover a new theme and a niche technology with a focus on industry needs.
The most recently held at Ciber India was ‘Hacka-lo-mania’ in December 2018, where consultants developed data science and AI solutions addressing business problems of the healthcare industry.
AIM: How important are hackathons (both internal and external) to boost innovation? Have you in your organisation benefitted by conducting hackathons?
NK: From both internal and external perspectives, hackathons are an excellent way to shorten an organisation’s innovation cycle and help to move rapidly from ideas to prototypes. They also give participants a chance to learn and explore areas outside of their routine work and collaborate both within and outside the organisation.
Yes, our internal hackathons have helped in both employee engagement and business growth. They create an environment for individuals to explore beyond boundaries, arrive with intuitive ideas, in result organisation gains workable prototypes to demonstrate its capabilities.
AIM: Besides building people capital, do hack for hire also help in positioning the company as innovative and help in branding?
NK: Yes, Hackathons leveraged for recruitment purpose have a tangible impact on company branding. First, it demonstrates the disposition of an organisation towards innovation, which is integral and a must have especially in the IT Industry. Second, when an organisation opts for a more modern and engaging hiring process via a Hackathon, it creates an opportunity for involvement with the talent pool and a platform to engage and interact with prospective employees, which is very different from the traditional interview-based hiring process. In sum, Hackathons are a great way to create awareness of your brand, its association with innovation and bringing the community together, reflective of progressive and collaborative work culture.
AIM: How is hackathon turning into mainstream hiring requirements?
NK: Several reports indicate that millennials are the growing majority of our workforce and will comprise 75% of our global workforce. This does not leave organisations with many choices but to come up with creative and efficient ways of not just hiring, but also keeping the employees engaged. So yes, this new recruitment trend is here to stay.
AIM: What is your preference for candidates who have participated in hackathon vs direct hiring?
NK: While Hackathons will be the future of recruitment and will offer quicker hiring solutions, we cannot completely rule out the value of direct hiring. There are roles such as team leads, customer facing and managerial responsibilities, which require a set of soft skills that cannot be assessed through Hackathons. Thus, my personal preference depends on the role, where hiring Graduates straight from campuses and colleges through hackathons would be most effective.
AIM: Are hackathons replacing the need to have short term certification course in areas such as AI, analytics?
NK: The Importance of short-term certification in areas such as AI and analytics will remain, as these are necessary for learning and benchmarking of a new skill, whereas hackathons help in evaluating the application of skills.
AIM: In future, how will hackathons evolve (smaller, online hackathons or the preference will be for offline events)
NK: There are over 1000+ hackathons conducted every year around the world. In future, we will see these numbers increasing; many companies are opening their data sets to developers to build effective predictive models online specifically in BFSI space; while others will be conducting internal events to ideate solutions for business challenges.
Nidhi Khanna Q&A on Hackathons in Analytics India Magazine
This US-based content firm’s Chennai office digitises everything from old photographs to ancient manuscripts
Natraj Kumar knows what William Shakespeare’s scribbled writing looks like. He is duty-bound not to reveal what he read, but when you ask him to describe the handwriting itself, he sums it up in one word: “Difficult. Not only because of the slanted cursive scrawl, but also because of the words he used, old English words,” says the Vice President of HTC Global Services, whose team in Chennai was responsible for digitising that draft of William Shakespeare’s work for archival purposes.
Whom the archive was being built for, Kumar is not at liberty to say. What he can say, however, is that his clientelle includes the British Library, National Library of Australia, National Library of The Netherlands and United States’ Library of Congress. So, gems like a draft by Shakespeare — though rare — are not quite unheard of, and keep cropping up amid HTC’s large volumes of daily data.
“We scan about three to four million pages a week,” says Kumar. These include everything from daily editions of some of UK’s leading newspapers and journals published by colleges to full-fledged, humongous cartographic maps. And it’s not just a matter of mere conversion to digital form — each piece of writing, heading, photograph and caption has to be individually tagged and made responsive to search algorithms. But these are just some of the more run-of-the-mill assignments. Digitisation is a service that can come in handy in numerous sectors.
Even in genealogy. How, you ask? By performing a task as seemingly routine as the digitisation of students’ photographs from old college yearbooks. “The uploaded photographs were used for facial recognition,” explains Kumar, adding that the project helped people in the US trace their relatives, who had moved multiple cities over multiple years.
The process itself is a long one. It involves cleaning up of scanned data that comes in from around the world, enhancing poor quality photographs, segmentation of the article to identify and capture its different components. “Segementation is of two types. One is of routine material, and the other is for specialised matter that has to be read and understood,” says Kumar. For that, HTC hires students of the subject to comb through the matter and help categorise it.
The next step is character recognition, that helps capture keywords and metadata. “Once all the data is collected, it is assembled into a deliverable file, which goes through strict quality control measures,” before being sent back to the client. The entire process for — say, a newspaper edition — takes six to seven days. “But that is more of a comfortable estimate,” says Kumar, “There are US-based and Singapore-based newspapers for whom we do the job in two hours.”
This is the simpler procedure. Things get more complex when the product is an ancient manuscript, or a valuable book. Kumar explains the challenges that his teams go through when trying to scan the contents of national libraries — “some of the papers are so old that they might crumble if there is too much light, or if they aren’t handled gently enough” — even as he weaves in and out of a maze of staircases, computers bays and private offices to a large, dark room at the end of a series of smaller ones. At the far end of the room sits a man in utter darkness, wearing blue rubber gloves, working with the soft light emitted by a specialised scanning machine. He carefully stowes away the project he was working on, to demonstrate the machine itself. It is big enough to hold an open cartographic map. The scanning surface is split in two halves, the height of each of which can be adjusted. “Sometimes, we scan large books that cannot be unbound or cut. But the curve near the spine is not easy to scan, so we raise one face of the book to flatten out the other,” explains Kumar.
He seems proud of the machine as he describes it, but the project that remains closest to his heart has nothing to do with impressive publications. “It is always good to receive direct feedback of your work, he says, “I got a chance to do that when one of the projects we worked on was launched in Australia recently. We had digitised children’s songs into vocal and visual versions, so that special needs children could learn them without having to read them. Their teachers were delighted.”
For more than over two decades, National Libraries, Universities, and other organizations world over have actively been digitizing their collections. The content includes rare books, journals, newspapers and a good deal of unorganized handwritten content ranging from letters, personal journals, travelogues etc.
These digitization initiatives have enabled users and researchers to access content that was otherwise inaccessible. In most cases, the scope of the digitization is restricted to simple scanning and dirty (uncorrected) OCR (Optical Character Recognition). The lack of accurate metadata and proper classification results in reduced discoverability of the content, thus diminishing the contents’ value.
In the recent past, many National Libraries and digital content providers have expanded the scope of digitization to include accurate metadata (selected), article classification and content tagging. This improvement has indeed improved the usability of the digitized content.
Let us take the case of the British Library (BL) (https://www.bl.uk/catalogues-and-collections/digital-collections), which is probably the gold standard for digitized content.
Here, one can search the British Newspaper Archive (though behind a paywall for access from outside the BL), Business & Management sections quite easily. The metadata has been captured to a high level of accuracy. In the case of Newspapers, the articles have been segmented, categorized to very high accuracy.
When one chooses to search the Manuscripts section, they will find that the searchability is restricted to keywords. And in case of sounds, it is limited to a set of names, dates and probably some important events.
The increasing difficulty to search the collection for specific content is quite evident. The difficulty is caused by the lack of production quality tools to “read” and create the content in digital form, unlike the OCR for printed material.
Luckily, the emerging technologies for handwriting recognition and speech recognition have been pushing the boundaries. Today production-ready applications for handwritten text recognition (for English and languages using the Roman script) extract text to a reasonable level of accuracy (65%-70%). While handwritten text recognition technology has been around for a while, their usage was mostly restricted to recognition of numerals, personal names or geographical names. With the advanced applications now available, the text from old (even dating back to 1800s) journals, letters can be extracted – thus making the documents more discoverable.
Similar improvements have been seen in the speech recognition area as well. The progress in speech recognition will make millions of hours of Audio and Video recordings, with broadcasting agencies, News agencies and other archives instantly usable. Combined with timestamping, the researches can actually locate the precise instant when their “Keyword” is spoken. This will eliminate hours of patient listening by the researchers, only to eliminate some content.
The advent of digital archive was hugely beneficial to the researches – in increasing the ease of access, in blurring the geographical boundaries and so on. The advanced OCR capabilities, combined with accurate metadata tagging and classification enhanced this experience. Researchers could now not only access the targeted books or content but also identify (and perhaps take a deeper read, if it is relevant) other content that match the criteria.
The rapid expansion in Speech Recognition & Handwritten Text Recognition software is sure to take this experience to the next level. This also opens the door for National Libraries to accelerate their digitization programs.
People without the knowledge of their history, origin, and culture are like trees without roots, goes an old saying. The latest Handwritten Text Recognition and Speech Recognition technology will help us discover our roots better.
Authored by Natraj Kumar, VP & Head – ITES & BPO, HTC Global Services
Employee engagement’ is one of the most frequently used terms we hear in organizations and HR circuits. However, as common the term maybe, it is not always understood, applied or demonstrated in its truest spirit and this is where most falter.
Creating a work environment where employees feel involved is not achieved merely by the application of the latest tools, techniques or conducting a few activities. It is the organizational philosophy that requires a matching mindset from its leadership. When the leadership of an organization displays a strong conviction and commitment towards driving ‘employee engagement’, it starts to become the DNA of the organization which in time is reflected in the sense “involvement” “responsibility” and “accountability” displayed by its people who take initiatives and display a sense of belonging towards the organization.
An organization that believes in “employee engagement” will bridge any gap between itself and its people – not at a tactical level, but as part of the organization culture, applying the tenets of their philosophy to include and involve employees in several effective ways.
# Make a real investment in your people
With a little more investment and by going beyond the regular business mandate of L&D, an organization can become more people-centric with customized programs, addressing employee development in a more holistic manner. For example, self-development programs that equip them with effective tools for personal growth can win their trust in the organization and create a more effective team at work.
# Give them an opportunity to inspire and motivate others
Identifying high performers and enabling them in honing their skills builds an organization’s capabilities and ensures they are prepared and inspired to take on more responsibility. In addition, giving them the opportunity to mentor others creates a congenial and positive work environment of involved teams and engaged managers.
# Help them build inter-personal relationships
It is highly recommended to create opportunities for team bonding. Creating platforms for knowledge sharing has proven to better the relationships between young talents and their managers. In addition, mentoring programs by leadership reflect the organization’s commitment towards its people and make the employee feel more invested. Such efforts create a sense of camaraderie and human bonding that builds a favourable backdrop for all other employee engagement activities.
# Not only empower them but also allow them to be the harbinger of change
Apart from recognizing and rewarding their efforts, an organization can demonstrate confidence and trust by empowering its people with the freedom to initiate change by inviting their suggestions and ideas. Most organizations take employee feedback but only some act upon it. This undermines the employee relationship with the organization. Requesting feedback with the commitment to be open to change can instinctively create a sense of employee involvement with the organization.
# Have an honest and transparent relationship with your people
Lastly, one cannot stress enough on the importance of communication in an organization and employee relationship. When an organization includes its employees by sharing information – from company vision, organization performance, to timely communication of important updates, decisions, and strategies – it reflects a transparency on the part of the organization. On the flipside, withholding information creates a sense of apathy amongst employees, which is not good for the health of any organization, building a barrier to any sense of involvement and belonging from the employee.
In sum, employees who believe that the organization is concerned about them as a whole and feel valued, are more productive, more satisfied and more fulfilled – motivating them to be engaged and involved at their workplace and with the organization. This can only be achieved with a top-down approach, and while levels of engagement may vary from employee to employee, an organization must stick by its philosophy with conviction, to truly become a great place to work.
Authored By Kothandaraman PR – General Manager – Human Performance, HTC Global Services
In the forever-evolving technology industry, driven by innovation and plagued by attrition, there is a constant and increasing demand for top talent challenging the capabilities of Talent Acquisition teams. This necessitates organizations to optimize available internal talent and focus on Employee Capability Development programs that address the scarcity of top talent and serves as a retention tool at the same time.
A well designed Capability Development program, when leveraged fully and made integral to the DNA of an organization leads to:
While such programs may vary in their construct from organization to organization, a top-down approach is a pre-requisite for all. A successful Capability Development Program requires conviction, commitment, and confidence of the leadership in inculcating a culture of learning to become a sustainable initiative.
One must also bear in mind that the lifespan of such programs is generally a maximum of 3 years – thereafter it invariably requires an assessment for change or an update that may arise from an organization’s strategic and business direction. Such audits and updates ensure the Capability Development Program objectives are aligned to the business objectives and meeting the employee development needs.
Once the objectives are set, there are several ways in which to make it a success – here are 3 key tried and tested measures to build a sustainable Capability Development Model.
# 1. Ensuring employee involvement:
Creating opportunities for employee participation from design to implementation has a huge impact on the success of the program – fostering a sense of co-ownership between the organization and the individual, and drives the acceptance levels of the program amongst its core target audience.
# 2. Fueling the organization’s career growth framework:
Once a Capability Development program becomes integral to the organization, it can also collaborate with Career Progression Framework – empowering employees in driving their career growth through upskilling and acquiring next level proficiencies.
Next level skills as laid out by the Career Progression Framework, can form the basis for skill gaps assessment through the Capability Development Program tools. This leads to ways in which the organization can enable the individual to achieve his or her career goals through:
It is equally important that Organizations recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of employees who successfully achieve their IDP goals, setting an example of the organization’s commitment to individual growth – which goes a long way in motivating and in retention.
# 3. Including human intervention:
Coaching is particularly relevant when employees are in an integrated Techno-Functional role. The interaction between the Coach and the Coachee facilitates a deeper understanding of the focus areas required for effective on-the-job performance. This also aids in achieving IDP goals. Coaching can be a valuable investment especially in building succession lines and a strong senior management team by addressing psychological, emotional and behavioral areas that are difficult to address in classroom environments.
To summarize, organizations with a clearly outlined capability model and a commitment to employee development, foster loyalty and enhances employer branding that plays a critical role in developing talent and curbing attrition – a win-win for both, the individual and the organization.
Authored By Vidya Vachaspathi is the Director – HR at CIBER
HTC Global Services looks to hire 2,000-3,000 people in India over the next two years to support its $1-billion revenue target by 2020.
The Troy, Michigan-headquartered IT services company has a strong employee base across its development centres in Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.
The company has 11,000 employees globally including Ciber and CareTech, acquired in 2014.
HTC, which acquired Ciber, an IT consulting firm, for $93 million in 2017, said post integration with the company it has a larger base of clients. The company is looking to increase its share of automation-led services to achieve faster growth.
“We are finalising hiring (numbers), and it will not be less than 2000-3000 people by 2020 for India,” said Chary Mudumby, chief technology officer, HTC Global Services, adding that its customers are looking for better value resulting in an increased demand for talent with domain knowledge.
HTC, mid sized IT services firm is joining large global firms such as IBM, Capgemini and Accenture to leverage offshore resources in India, as they struggle to find talent that work in newer areas such as digital and cloud.
“We are trying to bring in talent from the educational institutions because the current market demand for emerging technology is more,” added Mudumby.
Companies such as HTC and others have seen a disruption in their business model as clients in the US and other markets are now demanding more digital technology-led delivery.
For example, HTC said it is now using automation and predictive analytics to bring down the need for support in application development and services for a client’s business.
“Customers of HTC and Ciber have experienced the positive benefits of the acquisition and integration and the capabilities have doubled,” said Mudumby.
He said HTC’s growth would be driven by digitisation of existing services and support using robotic process automation, machine learning and AI. “40% of our customers today is using digital technology based services.”
HTC said its customers are looking to invest less in support but there is no pricing pressure.
“They are looking at an environment wherein they won’t have to invest much in support. Definitely there is a demand for better value and pricing is not an issue,” said Mudumby.
Borrowed from the game of Poker, business ‘table stakes’ are the minimum entry requirement for a market or business arrangement. There can be price, cost model, technology, or any other capability that represents a minimum requirement to have a credible competitive starting position in a market or other business arrangement. Bearing this metaphor in mind, IT Infra architecture and spend thereof are meant to enable your organization’s core business. Visionaries in the IT Infra space have a strong understanding of their organization’s business and find solutions with maximum ROI. It’s key to understand that supremely technically powerful solutions may not always find a place in your IT Infra space – what is necessary though is to find solutions that first and foremost support and blend in with your organization’s business goals. Having said that, let us look at some other common mistakes:
#1. Choosing the right Licensing Model
It is absolutely essential to use Licensed Software for business needs. A good Licensing model is a by-product of a clear understanding of business needs intertwined with IT-Infra solutions. Once in place, it is also important to leverage the licensing agreement to derive maximum benefit from it. For instance, many organizations sign an elaborate Enterprise Agreement with OEMs/Software Owners with the hope that it would cover all products and solutions. However, in reality, they end up using only one or two products from the entire suite.
#2. Open Source software is not free
There is a misconception that everything is free when on Open Source Software. Unfortunately, that is not the case! Software Subscription is an integral part of Open Source. A software without support from its principal service provider is always at risk. Any production system running on an open source platform should have a support subscription, to receive upto-date patches and avoid potential vulnerabilities. For example, Red Hat Subscription comes with the latest upgrades and expertise of engineers making the open source secure, stable and reliable.
#3. Trust Your Tools – Frequently changing them does not help
Organizations spend a considerable amount of time and resources shortlisting a tool for managing their environment, and once in place, some of the output from these might be alarming. However, it is critical not to shy away, instead, continue analyzing them to improve your infrastructure efficiency – Treat them like constructive feedback from wellwishers. Similarly, frequently changing the monitoring tools leads to lack of understanding for those tracking and reporting them. Unless you trust your tools, there will be no significant impact on your IT Infrastructure.
#4. Failing to invest in Information Security and Vulnerability Analysis tools
If you thought hackers were external to your organization, re-think! Managing and mitigating the risk from any 3rd party or from internal sources who could get more access to your infrastructure than required is equally important. Therefore, vulnerability testing should be a significant part of the proof of concept and buying decision for all product purchases.
#5. Trying to do all In-house
In comparison to the expertise available globally and easily, those who don’t leverage it could end up spending more in assembling all the required skills inhouse. The trick is to have key resources (people and/or equipment) in-house and engage reliable partners to manage the operations and complement the in-house skill sets. With the inevitable rates at which competition is growing, market demand-supply dynamics and deepening skill sets play a pivotal role in such decisions.
#6. Shutting down the Data Centers and moving everything to Cloud
Cloud, no doubt is a very well rounded alternative to physical infrastructure, yet thriving without data centers may not be wise. Especially for global organizations, bandwidth costs at various remote locations are a critical consideration to access a cloud-only solution. Therefore, certain cases may demand a locally managed data center, well integrated to organization’s network, basis a good cost-benefit analysis.
#7. Placing Backup & DR on to a back seat
As the saying goes backups are ‘worthless’ but re-stores are ‘priceless’. Organizations sometimes fall prey to lower investments in backup strategy – Software/Tapes/Offsite-Storage. Business critical information should always have sufficient quantity and frequency of back-up schedule followed to the letter. However, what and how to back up varies from organization to organization across industries.
#8. Running Production Systems on Hardware that’s out of Warranty
The highest risk that could cause any ITinfra manager sleepless nights is running production systems on hardware that is not in warranty. A well-laid out asset management system with proactive alerts and implementation strategy is essential to the success in this area. For example, organizations running Dell Hardware could consider implementing Dell OME.
#9. Failing to invest on ITSM (IT Service Management) tools
Incident, change or problem management and service request fulfilment strategy are mandatory for infrastructure deliveries. This means a strongly integrated configuration management system should be at the base of tracking, resolving and mitigating the IT-Infra issues. Additionally, it also opens a realm of possibilities such as providing a platform for automation, operational excellence, lower lead times and reduced compliance risks.
#10. Predictive Analytics – Need of the hour
All of the above creates a valuable data repository – predictive analytics helps derive insights, capture trends and themes, potential risks and spends that are required for the future. Investment in at least a small-scale analytics tool will go a long way in understanding and presenting the data, not only to IT-Infra leaders but also to business and functional leads who can use the insights in their area. For example, a CFO is happy to get a spending forecast for say Bandwidth, Server Infra, and Tapes with data-driven granularity, to ensure the right level of working capital to manage these. In addition, Regional Business VPs may find it intuitive to have proactive critical server maintenance schedule that could influence production parameters. In conclusion, all organizations are as good as its employees. Hence, it is important to hire the right talent who can put the investments in IT-Infra to its best use, not only for routine tasks but to also collaborate seamlessly across the organization, driving value and enabling synergies.
Authored By Sathya Prakash, Practice Lead – IT Infrastructure, HTC Global Services
Persons with disabilities need more than one type of assistive technology solution to enhance their independent living and socio-economic participation. Accessible applications and devices can level the playing field for persons with disabilities across life domains including education, employment, e-governance, and civic participation, financial inclusion, and disaster management.
According to WHO, more than 15% of the world population lives with some form of disability, of whom nearly 190 million people experience considerable difficulties in functioning. The exclusion and marginalization of persons with disabilities is a human rights issue as well as an economic issue for countries. The new age digital world needs to break all traditional barriers to communication, interaction, and enable access to information for persons with disabilities. The convergence of increasing public and private service provision through technology and the rise of conventional digital touchpoints is changing the paradigm of accessibility.
As the famous quote from the IBM Training Manual goes, “Technology makes things easier for most people, but for people with disabilities, technology makes things possible”. Everything you do in enhancing accessibility has the potential to affect the lives of many. Apart from being a big market opportunity with a growing market demand, compliance to accessibility regulations has become a mandate in several developed countries.
Persons with disabilities need more than one type of assistive technology solution to enhance their independent living and socio-economic participation. Accessible applications and devices can level the playing field for persons with disabilities across life domains including education, employment, e-governance, and civic participation, financial inclusion, and disaster management.
For instance, let’s take disaster management – access to instant, current, reliable, and relevant information and communication before, during, and after a disaster situation not only saves lives and reduces injuries and damage to property, but also provides easy access to disaster relief services.
More than anything, building accessibility into your product can result in a solution that works better for everyone. For example, if your user interface has a good contrast between the text and the background it not only helps users with vision loss but also helps others who may face legibility issues in bright sunlight. The alerts that are generated by your mailbox for calendar reminders use visual alerts and vibration apart from sound, thus helping users who have a hearing impairment and those working in a noisy environment. Text messaging was originally designed for people with hearing disability and as we all know it’s something we cannot live without now.
The big question is how to ensure that websites and mobile apps and other digital content are perceivable and applicable to everyone regardless of their abilities.
Here are some specific questions that you can ask
Can people navigate through your website without the use of a mouse?
Will they be able to understand what is happening in embedded videos in your site or app even if they cannot hear?
Will they be able to navigate your site or app with a screen reader, which reads out elements on the screen?
Product owners have to keep in mind a variety of accessibility needs. Apps need to assist individuals by providing instant captions for audio content including phone/video calls, voice amplification and converting audio alerts into text. While there are independent apps to scan barcodes and identify products, read aloud menus through optical character recognition and object recognition including currency, there is an imminent need to factor some of these accessible features in all normal application development.
All we need is to change our mindset.
We need to start designing for accessibility first. It is evident that we need to develop solutions that are not only inclusive but are more intuitive than what we design for fully-abled people. This is exciting as it means that the energy it takes to be inclusive can be leveraged and harnessed as a force for creativity and innovation. This helps us move away from the deficiency mindset of tolerance, to becoming a social innovator, the type of maverick that this world desperately needs to solve some of its greatest problems.
Authored By R. Arun Srinivasan, Head – Digital Experience CoE, HTC Global Services
AI in the Automobile segment is showcasing Automated Guided Vehicles (AVGs) to move materials around automotive plants. Multi-recognition systems monitor and analyse data to derive driver’s attentiveness or excitement level. AI enabled wearable IOT sensors such as H-Vex to protect the workforce ensuring safety and increased productivity. -Dr Muthukumaran Balasubramanian, Head – BigData, HTC Global Services
Why Finance and I mix?
I come from a family of financial professionals and during my college days, I found an inclination towards business finance, a common topic of conversation at home. What particularly drew me towards choosing a career in finance was the fact that it encompasses all aspects of business. Diversity of tasks, an eye for figures and also a ‘bigger picture’ makes it fascinating for me.
Motto I live my quarters by
Effective quarterly review is critical for success to improve in the next quarter
Being CFO to me means
Going beyond the numbers, contributing to decision making process of the business and having a holistic approach to the organisation and its economic system.
When I switch any company I would like to be remembered for
Creating a strong and enduring financial foundation for the organisation and mentoring my team into becoming equally strong financial professionals.
Next pit stop
Enabling HTC Global Services for the next milestone of growth.
To harness the talent of my team in a way that it has a positive and tangible impact on business growth and helps development of the people.
Ciber is an IT consulting company with presence across US and India; and has been partnering with customers in their technology needs since 1974. Ciber India is its largest delivery center delivering IT solutions that help businesses achieve strategic goals, applying proprietary methodologies and accelerators to deliver projects in both the legacy and niche technology areas. With rich industry knowledge and in-depth technical expertise, Ciber enables organizations across Industries achieve their goals for digital transformation.
Customers have been looking for service providers to bring in transformative technology and services in the IT-services industry. Tactical and strategic transformations are the future
The world has been witnessing rapid technological growth in the past few decades. Computing power and storage are becoming cheaper, faster and smaller in size. Communication networks have become more robust and reliable with increased bandwidth and speed. Development technologies, software packages as well as methodologies have been continually modernised. All industries that are heavily dependent on IT are in a race to keep up with technological changes. IT services companies are no exception to this. They face the same challenges in modernising themselves and helping their clients to reimagine technology to accelerate business. While this has been the general trend, the IT services industry has been going through significant changes which have parallels in other industries.
Let us examine skill specialisation and division of labour. Till the early 90s, most IT professionals did almost all the life cycle activities with very little role separation, be it in the applications area or the infrastructure area. Over a period of time, the industry gave rise to many specialised roles such as user interface (UI), business logic, back-end development, functional and non-functional testing. And in infrastructure and other areas of IT, often deploying professionals with skills in just one specialised area is visible. Many organisations have realised that there is a loss of efficiency inherent in such a division due to increased coordination efforts. The pendulum is swinging back where IT professionals are required to be multi-skilled and be generalists before acquiring specialised skills in fewer areas.
Over the past decade, customers have been looking for service providers to bring in transformative technology and services in addition to providing standard application or infrastructure management services. The need of the hour is to provide both tactical and strategic transformations. The tactical changes are mostly IT-related, requiring very specific knowledge of the customers’ applications and systems. The strategic transformations require deep industry and technology expertise. The effectiveness of these transformations depend on the change management in customers’ own IT organisation and the co-operated efforts of the customer and the service provider. The current examples of these transformation are DevOps, Cloud, Microservices based application developments et al.
Many organisations are leaning towards packaged solutions rather than bespoke development. While enterprise resource plannings (ERP) and their vertical specific implementations have been in vogue for a few decades, specialised industry solutions such as for banking, insurance, retail, education et al are gaining popularity, given the availability of stable and robust products. This has been a growing trend over the past decade or so, and IT services companies are partnering with product vendors to implement and support those products.
It is a known fact that IT along with its services is not just a contributor to the growth of other industries, but has become an enabler and an integral part of all the industries. Over the time, many companies in various industries — publishing, automotive, insurance, banking, to name a few, started identifying themselves as technology companies, treating technology on par with their core products.
While the bare-bones of a company’s product could be very similar to those of its competitors, it is the software that controls the behaviour of the product in the operating environment, enriching the user experience, and thereby, providing the necessary differentiators. The IT services industry also embraced concepts from the industry especially from manufacturing and services industries.
Examples from manufacturing are lean manufacturing and value stream mapping. IT services industry adapted both of these concepts into the Agile DevOps based application development and support services. This greatly helped the IT services companies to provide products and services with higher accuracy and speed by reduction of rework and waste. IT services companies learnt a lot on good customer service from banking and financial services, retail and a few other industries, in turn helping themselves to be customer-centric with needed velocity, flexibility and innovation.
Lastly, artificial intelligence (AI) is bringing disruptive changes to the world as a whole, IT services industry included. Of course, IT services companies are the ones who learn, develop and implement AI solutions to transform businesses with the help of robotic process automation, natural language processing, image recognition, voice recognition and machine learning (ML). In addition, these AI technologies have the potential to automate and transform the core IT activities. IT professionals have been performing many mundane and repetitive tasks in providing services, be it in the applications or infrastructure area. Many of these can be automated using AI. Examples are software testing and ML based algorithms for incident prediction.
Clearly the IT services industry has gone through phenomenal changes over the past few decades. The nature of these changes around division of labour, transformational services and technology disruptions are very similar to the changes that have been occurring in other industries. But, the one area that shall remain constant is the fundamental nature and attitude of service companies of being a trusted partner, a trusted advisor and always being available. Services companies that give paramount importance to this will be the ones to survive and thrive.
(The writer is Chief Technology Officer, HTC Global Services)
Chennai, India., Sept 3, 2018/Deccan Chronicle/ – HTC Global Services India and Automation Anywhere entered into a partnership to further boost HTC’s RPA (robotic process automation) services, by building BOT based industry-specific solutions with cognitive abilities. These solutions are designed for quick deployment and easy integration into the digital landscapes of various business processes. The solutions are built around Automation Anywhere’s cognitive abilities that include speech recognition, natural language processing and machine learning to automate perceptual and judgment based tasks.
“Adding cognitive capabilities to process execution is one of the fastest growing trends today in business process automation. Companies are focusing on tomorrow’s workforce where humans and software bots collaborate to make the workplace more efficient. We will be leveraging Automation Anywhere’s products to help automate our client’s complex and business critical processes,” said Chary Mudumby, CTO, HTC Global Services.
Automation Anywhere and HTC Global Services co-hosted a roundtable on ‘Technology to Power the Next-Generation Workforce,’ in Mumbai and Chennai. Industry leaders and practitioners discussed various strategies, barriers faced and common learnings to incorporate in a company’s RPA based transformative journey. The discussion focused on three key industries — automotive, trade finance and manufacturing.
“We are pleased to have HTC Global Services as our Implementation Partner to help our customers leverage the benefit of automation,” said Mr Anubhav Saxena, Executive Vice President, Partnerships, Strategy and Operations at Automation Anywhere. “HTC’s experience and our industry-leading RPA solutions will provide unparalleled value for companies in automating business processes across the enterprise which could not have been automated without robotic process automation.”
HTC Global Services provides digital transformation solutions to BFSI, health systems and hospitals, automotive, retail, publishing, government and education sectors. HTC’s SME and functional experts help our clients in these industries to identify the processes that would benefit from adopting RPA.
HTC Global Services has deployed a range of solutions to automate structured and semi-structured data. Examples include insurance claim processing, vendor/ customer on-boarding invoice and purchase order processing, procure to pay, lead to order to cash process, front office and back office automation.
1st May, 2018: Quadient, formerly GMC Software, the award-winning leader in Customer Communications Management (CCM), announced today that HTC Global Services has joined the Quadient Partner Advantage Program as a Delivery Partner. Quadient Delivery Partners have functional and technical product expertise along with vertical industry experience to provide implementation and support services that augment the global reach of Quadient’s Professional Services Organization (PSO). The Quadient Partner Advantage Program facilitates speedy integration of new and emerging CCM technology into production. It does this by leveraging the extensive assets and skills of its partners to enable organizations to develop better experiences for their customers.
HTC Global Services (HTC) is a leading global provider of IT and Business Process Services and Solutions. HTC’s IT services are backed by talented professionals with extensive domain and technical expertise, global presence, large delivery centers and compliance to SEI CMM Level 5, ISO 9001, ISO 27001 and PCI DSS standards. HTC will support Quadient’s customers in insurance and financial services and other industries by improving the customer experience. HTC will focus on easing the complexities of customer communication by enabling timely, optimized, contextual, highly individualized and accurate multi-channel communication for ensuring a superior customer experience.
“HTC is pleased to be a Quadient Delivery Partner to provide seamless implementation, integration, and best in-class professional services for Quadient’s CCM and digital experience solutions,” said Steve Vernia, director, business development, HTC. “HTC will help Quadient customers achieve customer experience excellence, and maximize the value of their investment. HTC will help businesses have meaningful interactions with current and future customers by managing the complexities of customer communication and building profitable customer experiences across channels.”
“We are excited to have HTC Global Services join us as a Delivery Partner to extend our reach in helping our customers integrate Quadient’s CCM and digital experience solutions with their new and legacy IT systems,” said Tamir Sigal, CMO, Quadient. “This support is invaluable for our customers in their efforts to create highly personalized, timely and accurate communications across all channels.”
About HTC Global Services
HTC is headquartered in Troy, MI and brings over 27 years of IT and BPO experience in providing cost effective and innovative services across domains for Global 2000 customers. HTC has extensive expertise in Digital Transformation, helping customers move to the digital age by influencing customer experience, business innovation and business efficiency. HTC’s quality and information security processes are compliant to SEI CMM Level 5, ISO 9001, ISO 27001 and PCI DSS standards. HTC has a strong global client presence, and large IT and BPM delivery centers, talented professionals, and capabilities across multiple technologies, platforms and domains. For more details, visit http://www.htcinc.com.
About Quadient, formerly GMC Software
Quadient helps companies deliver meaningful interactions with current and future customers. A Neopost Digital Company, the Quadient portfolio of technology enables organizations to create better experiences for their customers through timely, optimized, contextual, highly individualized, and accurate communications for all channels. Our solutions bring together and activate the entire organization in the name of customer experience, through better collaboration and visibility into the customer journey. Quadient supports thousands of clients and partners worldwide in the financial services, insurance and service provider industries in their quest to achieve customer experience excellence via mobile, digital, social media and print technologies.
“I want the CIOs and CISOs to focus on internal proprietary machine learning capabilities and leverage it in assisting their security teams” – Vishal Sethi – VP & Global Practice Head- Cognitive /AI & Data Science Lead – HTC Global Services
Bangalore: With Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning gradually taking the center stage across businesses as well as in human lives to an extent, there’s a growing anxiety and excitement around these new emerging technologies and its impact on the world in near future.
While humans are yet to come to terms with these evolving technologies, enterprises and organizations are looking for technology partners and IT services companies that would help to leverage the capabilities of AI, Machine Learning and other Cognitive technologies.
In this interview, Pankaj Maru of ETCIO.com talks to Vishal Sethi– VP & Global Practice Head- Cognitive /AI & Data Science Lead – Corporate Innovation, HTC Global Services to discuss about the role of AI and its impact on businesses and people’s lives in the near future, the trends that AI and Machine Learning driving across industries, its implications and also explains on how the CIOs and CISOs can leverage these new technologies to enhance and strengthen IT and cybersecurity in their organizations.
In your view, what role is AI likely to play in next 2 to 3 years across businesses and people’s lives?
Vishal Sethi: I personally feel that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has created a major difference in the area of technology and applications. Earlier it was just seen as technology tool but now it is leveraged with technology and applications. For example, when you climb the mountains you need some gears like levers and sticks to move efficiently on the rocks. But now the difference is that when you are climbing the mountains, those sticks in your hands will start talking and will tell you where to put your next step and the lever will even estimate how much weight and pressure you need to apply. So that’s a big difference AI is creating and that’s the disruption AI is bringing today.
Your applications, systems and machines have their own intelligence and most executive leaders will start signing on how much of the intelligence they want to augment in their existing IT capabilities versus what they want to keep in human minds – that’s one major thing happening today. Let me give you a practical example – when you Google something, the moment you start typing any sentence or word on Google, it starts predicting and that prediction is based on you and what you have done in the past plus Google’s own translation. So it becomes very convenient and sometimes we don’t even need to type the entire word or sentence as it gets picked by Google and its 90% accurate. So that’s where we are headed into day to day operations as consumers and individuals. And even for the executives and technology professionals the way of working will get change drastically and every day technology will recommend things to do. When you walk into banks, the banking recommendation engines will start talking to you and will recommend specific products and services for each individual and that’s already happening today.
What technology trends you foresee in AI and machine learning space in next two years?
Vishal Sethi: There are 4 to 5 industries where AI is gaining traction mainly because of the competitive nature and feasibility in those industries. Banking, telecom, insurance and healthcare are the industries, where fastest AI adaptation will take place. In 2018, most CTOs, CIOs and business executives and leaders will potentially just ground their applications and at least will take their first step (in AI). But in 2019, I personally believe that if you haven’t taken that first step you will start to feel the pinch that you are lagging behind compared to others. Just like what Amazon did to retail or Apple did to telephone industry; AI is now coming to industries like banking and telecom. Telecom is becoming the banking company and is disrupting the banking services and industry, so the question is — who is the banking company? I think 2018 for India will be grounding like we have currently clients that have engaged us for automating their processes. One of the banking clients, which I can’t name, has asked us to automate 20 departments. In the first year they just want to build some methodologies, so to experiment and convince their financial department.
When it comes to AI and machine learning, globally there’s this growing fear among a large section of the population that it will take away jobs from humans. In your view, how far is this fear is real?
Vishal Sethi: When the internet came to existence, we weren’t sure of the nature of the role it will play. And 15 years ago, there was no Google, but today if there’s any question in the mind, most people will post it on Google and it has become part of our life. Similarly, what’s happening with AI is that some people do see it as threats, but I see it as an extended capability and humans will be way more intelligent. It would depend on the leadership viewpoint and there will always be two extremities of adoption– some people’s jobs would get substituted, but I wouldn’t say threatened because the job skills in demand would get changed. But some jobs will be traded-off and new jobs will be created in AI. On the other end, there are leaders that are envisioning a hybrid culture – Can we empower our employees by giving them the agents or Robo assistance for non-value added tasks. And that I think is the correct way to embrace AI. Earlier we use to rely on printed maps manually, but now we use GPS so it’s a powerful example of AI, where it has started to assist human beings.
What role AI can play in terms of strengthening IT and cybersecurity in the organizations and how can CIOs and CISOs leverage it?
Vishal Sethi: There are many companies that are using AI. For instance, Facebook is using ethical robots working day and night scanning chat rooms. And there is a concept called moderation so the robots will pick any adulterated or bad or vulnerable words being used in the chat to protect the children from engaging in such things. Sometimes there are criminals in the chat rooms preying upon children and considering the fact that social media is expanding and no human can control it. Without AI, we wouldn’t be safer in this digital world, but at the same time there are pros and cons. So I personally think, if AI put into the right security practices, can protect societies and human vulnerabilities to a massive extent. I want the CIOs and CISOs to focus on internal proprietary Machine Learning capabilities and leverage it in assisting their security teams. Instead of thinking, humans will do work, we have to start thinking how can we put our Machine Learning, machine intelligence and AI applications to help the humans in threat detections, decision making and so forth.
From the Indian IT sector perspective, do you see any scope for Indian companies in the AI space like they have on the IT and software services front?
Vishal Sethi: I spent a good amount of time in the US and India throughout the year, but surprisingly I don’t know why US invests way further more in AI than India and India is lagging behind. When it comes to AI applications, US is very intensive and when it comes to hardware China is leading right now because it’s a major manufacturing hub and it is leveraging those capabilities and India is lagging in and that to me is a big a concern. Besides, US is leveraging human brains, they leverage us to create value and capture revenue and put into practice in the real world in real-time and we are always lagging behind in top leaderships and thinking. And that’s where I am trying to address the CIOs. It’s time for us to change the way of thinking, unless you do so we would be lagging behind. We are more in a reactive mode rather than proactive and that’s where India has to change.
TROY, Mich., Jan. 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — HTC Global Services (HTC) announced today that it has partnered with Intelledox, a global software provider focused on bringing digital transformation to everyday customer interactions across the enterprise. HTC, a leading US-based provider of IT and Business Process Services will provide expert system integration, analytics, and technical support to enterprises by leveraging the Intelledox Infiniti platform.
Customers today demand relevant, fast and easy digital interactions. Meanwhile, most companies have dozens or even hundreds of paper or fillable PDF forms to collect data for customer quotes, applications, claims, and service requests. The manual processes are slow, inefficient and lead to customer frustration and form abandonment – not to mention being prone to security risks.
Built on Microsoft technologies, the low-code, solution-ready Intelledox Infiniti platform enables companies to provide a 100% digital customer experience. As a partner, HTC will design, develop, deliver, deploy, and implement solutions using the Intelledox platform, spanning customer acquisition, onboarding and service use cases.
Together, the solutions from HTC and Intelledox will empower organizations to:
• Collect data from customers and agents – as well as third-party data sources – via an intuitive digital interaction instead of traditional forms
• Onboard customers faster and easier, eliminating the need for rekeying data
• Deliver customer communications in real time in multiple outputs, such as industry-standard forms, Word documents, PDFs, SMS or email messages, and other formats
• Integrate with digital signature solutions to speed transaction time and support compliance
• Connect front-end experiences with CRM and core systems of record to leverage known customer information and extend IT investments
“The innovative and modern approach from Intelledox effectively meets the customer demands for digital solutions,” said Steve Vernia, Director of Business Development for HTC. “Our partnership with Intelledox will accelerate the pace of digital transformation with our clients and we’re excited about building solutions for them that surpass their expectations.”
“The combination of our Infiniti platform and HTC’s technology expertise will make it significantly easier for organizations to modernize and simplify business transformation in the front office,” said Rodney Frye, President of Intelledox North America. “We’re looking forward to working with HTC as a trusted partner to bring these strategic ideas to market.”
Today’s customers demand efficient and intuitive digital experiences and Intelledox delivers. Through its solution-ready Infiniti platform, Intelledox enables customer-focused businesses and governments to transform customer interactions into adaptive digital journeys, from acquisition to onboarding to service. With North American Headquarters located in Dallas, Texas, Intelledox has offices in New York, Toronto, London, Singapore, Sydney and global headquarters in Canberra, Australia. More than 140+ global customers and millions users trust the Infiniti platform. Learn how Intelledox Infiniti uniquely combines next-generation forms, experience-driven workflow and on-demand, customer communications management at http://www.intelledox.com.
About HTC Global Services (HTC)
HTC is headquartered in Troy MI and brings over 27 years of IT and BPO experience in providing cost effective and innovative services across domains for Global 2000 customers. HTC is focused on the Financial and Insurance industry, with significant percentage of HTC revenue from services provided to the BFSI customers. HTC has extensive expertise in Digital Transformation, helping customers move to the digital age by influencing customer experience, business innovation, and business efficiency. HTC’s quality and information security processes are compliant to SEI CMM Level 5, ISO 9001, ISO 27001 and PCI DSS standards. HTC has a strong global client presence, and large IT and BPM delivery centers, talented professionals, and capabilities across multiple technologies, platforms and domains.
The US-based IT services provider HTC Global Services is focussing on education space in India and will launch products powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) in coming months.
The products are recommendation engine and automated student services like admission process.
Vishal Sethi, Global Practice Head – AI & Data Science, said while AI and machine learning are taking over most fields such as healthcare and IT in India, education space is yet to catch up. “But the field has a huge potential and is largely unexplored,” he added.
The first product it will launch is the recommendation engine, a web-based application that will help students make intelligent decisions when choosing courses and electives in universities. It will be launched by mid 2018.
This is how the application will work. Sethi said: “Think of it like the recommendation engine in e-commerce platforms.” If you are buying a book online, you would see popular products other people brought along with the book as recommendations. These are based on past data and analysed using AI and machine learning.
Recommendation for courses works in the same way. Sethi said: “Using AI we analyse past data available to understand how the courses selected fared during placement and how the electives impact a student’s curriculum.” “The results are more accurate as they are based on real time data and hence more reliable,” he added. While this product will be free for students, the company will partner with universities and colleges in India to sell it.
Another area HTC is keen on working is the student services space. Currently, students’ services such as admission queries are largely manual and it takes considerable amount of time that lecturers could spend in research and other activity productively. Sethi said: “That is why this area has huge potential in India.” The company’s partner start-up that uses bots to cater to student services will be brought to India.
Sethi said: “It will help an educational institution build better relationship with students and data collected can be used to change policies and curriculum positively.” “For this product we are in talks with business schools and engineering institutions,” he added.
In the school space, Sethi said a research on how facial expression could be used as a metric for calculating level of understanding of students in class is underway.
Sethi said: “This research is still nascent as there is not much data available.” HTC is also keen on partnering with start-ups that specialise in bots and object recognition. “We are looking for start-ups in India that have a product ready and are looking for a space to sell.” A separate team has been formed for the same.
Tourism as an industry is of particular importance for the economy of a country. Millions of people travel around the globe throughout the year. They travel on business, vacations, sightseeing, or other reasons. Travellers spend a good amount of money on purchase of tickets, accommodations, food, transportation, and entertainment. These expenditures are a significant source of foreign exchange including direct and indirect employment.
Web 2 facilitates novel ways of meeting dynamic consumer behaviour, leading to an “information product” of the overall tourism value chain. Tourism value chain generates a lot of information. One type of information flow is from the service providers to consumers or tourists. It provides information about tickets, hotel rooms, entertainment, etc. The second type of information flow consists of aggregate information about tourists to service providers.
Tourism service is data intensive with complex relationships. Organizations and firms across the globe communicate with tourists through various channels to market their products and build customer relationships creating data collections. Data provides a good insight on the traveller’s behaviour. Data here refers to searching, selection, and consumption of merchandises and services for the satisfaction of their needs. The tourism firms’ DNA is built on such datasets to forecast customer needs and respond to their demands. The need for accurate tourism forecasting is thus particularly important due to the industry’s significant contribution to the economy. A key challenge in many tourism destinations is the accurate forecasting of inbound tourism to support destination management decisions. Forecasting has the potential to deliver new and more highly informed inferences about consumers that will give the tourism industry a big boost.
Due to technological development, firms in this business have started moving towards marketing automation tools, coupled with machine learning capability for data collection, data analysis leading to decisions. Data is rich with structured and unstructured data types. Identification of important variables and relationships located in these consumers-information collection leads to better insights. Better decision making and service improvement needs are supported by the insights and knowledge discovered from the service data obtained from the visitors through their interactions. The complex travel data calls for use of state of the art machine learning methods, tools, and techniques beyond simple statistical analysis.
Since the travel destinations are unlimited, travellers seek advice about destinations through a travel agent. The recommendations from agents are restricted by various factors. Sometimes the final decision is dependent on the travel agent. This bottle neck is addressed with machine learning systems like recommender systems, coupled with Artificial Intelligence (AI). Recommender systems are software components to support on available options better suited for a certain individual customer. In a tourism domain, recommendation techniques with respect to tourism will provide suggestions on cities to go to, places to visit, attractions to see, events to participate in, options for hotels, etc. A recommender system is designed to assist in matching the customer’s preferences with the available options and services specific to tourism. It simulates the role of a travel agent in offering options to the customer. The system shows relevant tourist options and enables interactions between the travel agent and the customer through a private Web chat. Messages are exchanged online using computers connected to the Internet. The software uses machine learning techniques to discover insights. After that, the system searches a database of options built from structured and unstructured text and retrieves tourist options. Of late chatbots and voicebots have started influencing tourism industry providing personalized attention to the tourist right through the travel. Such travelbot assistants are also called as virtual assistants as they go beyond guiding tourists to destinations, recommending food en-route, and assisting during travel delays.
Demand for AI and machine learning specialists in the country are expected to see a 60 per cent rise by 2018 due to increasing adoption of automation. However, the sector is so unpredictable that even a small disturbance in the environment can decrease the tourism potential significantly.
Information Technology (IT) is highly relevant in the automotive sector. Both traditional and new-age IT solutions can be used for a large number of functions within manufacturing, with the end-requirement costs reduction.
One such provider of IT solutions to various industries, including those in the automotive sector, is HTC Global Services Inc. Chary Mudumby, CTO, HTC Global Services, told us via email about the company’s solutions for automotive and ancillary manufacturing industries, as well IT as the integrator of systems. We find out how various IT solutions have resulted in the overall reduction of costs of manufacturing, while making systems more efficient within an organisation.
ROLE IN AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURING
Broadly, the functions in the automotive and manufacturing industry are product design, engineering, manufacturing, production, sales, dealer management, service, and warranty management, while other important functions deal with regulatory compliances such as emissions. Of course, like any other industry, these companies also have functions such as finance, HR, governance, risk management and compliance (GRC). Mudumby said IT plays a significant role in each of these functions and is, in fact, an enabler for all of these functions. He added that IT also helps in integrating all these functions, and fuels R&D as well.
HTC, with its domain and technical expertise, offers services in all of these areas to automotive manufacturing and ancillary companies. The company’s prominent services are in emerging areas such as digital, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data and analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) including machine learning and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). HTC also provides solutions in traditional IT areas of enterprise resource planning (ERP), product lifecycle management (PLM), manufacturing execution systems (MES), customer relationship management (CRM), and supply chain, noted Mudumby.
The company typically provides services and solutions to automotive and ancillary customers in the areas of ERP implementation, ERP support, infrastructure support, business intelligence, and analytics, said Mudumby. A prominent service of HTC is in the integration of these IT solutions with each other. For instance, MES and ERP integration removes the disconnect between the top floor and shopfloor, he noted. Mudumby added that increased visibility of information makes for improved customer satisfaction, as the businesses have a better handle on production and delivery. The integration of systems can help automotive companies realise reduced inventory cost and faster time-to-market through much needed operational efficiencies, he said.
HTC works with a number of Tier I and Tier II suppliers, and international OEMs as well. Some suppliers are looking to move their infrastructure to the cloud to ensure they are secure, rather than keeping their own data centres. HTC is in a position to help customers to shift to the cloud, with its own data centres and partnerships, Mudumby noted.
BIG DATA, ANALYTICS & CONNECTED VEHICLES
Mudumby said that Big Data and Data Science, along with predictive analytics and machine learning have the potential to improve every aspect of the automotive industry. Predictive maintenance of components and tools increases the efficiency of operations by reducing downtime at both OEMs and component manufacturers, he added. HTC provides analytics services to increase sales by identifying trends in sale quantity and price of a brand with competing brands in the market, he explained. Solutions like this allow OEMs to devise appropriate geography-specific incentive schemes to increase sales.
Another important use case of Big Data and Analytics is in the area of warranty maintenance and support. Mudumby said HTC has developed these analytics solutions for OEMs in order to help identify the top causes and components that contribute to warranty costs. These solutions also proactively reduce warranty costs by looking for the condition of parts and components, and fixing them during regular vehicle maintenance cycles. Mudumby said that OEMs should also proactively bring in engineering changes to improve quality and reduce warranty costs.
In terms of the emerging technology of connected vehicles, HTC will deliver component-level software development and testing services, said Mudumby. This is made possible with the company’s capabilities in IoT, telematics and mobility, with implications in areas of vehicle safety, infotainment and scheduling maintenance. Mudumby noted that other technologies that will help this disruption are Big Data and Cloud computing. Therefore, HTC is poised to help automotive companies reduce warranty support costs, and increase production throughout at a reduced per unit cost. It plans to do so by optimising factors such as inventory and equipment maintenance, Mudumby said.
Mudumby said that HTC brings capabilities to support and maintain product design, manufacturing, and business applications. It also helps automotive companies and ancillaries to seamlessly exchange up-to-the-minute information between various engineering systems in order to make timely decisions that affect procurement, manufacturing, logistics and supply chain. HTC helps OEMs and component manufacturers to increase their operational efficiencies through predictive maintenance as opposed to traditional corrective and preventive maintenance techniques. HTC helps companies increase their market share by using sales analytics and enabling the marketing teams to design appropriate location based discounts.
There is a clear shift of focus, from a centralized technical infrastructure to distributed, infrastructure platforms. This change is responsible for the next generation business models in payments,digital banking,and financial transaction technologies.One of the technologies riding on distributed architecture is Blockchain technology. The Blockchain is a term which is being buzzed across the network.It is being mentioned virtually by all research firms as a destructive technology. As a technology, it is reshaping the Industry verticals from various facets. It was originally created as a method of tracking Bitcoin transactions. Bitcoin is a Blockchain – enabled currency and a peer-to-peer electronic cash system which was designed for online payments without going through a financial institution. Bitcoin has enabled a virtual currency system without any trusted parties and without pre-assumed identities among the participants.
Blockchain has the potential to transform the managing principles of money transfer systems. Blockchain, as a technology, is designed to be the foundation of a new set of applications that involve transaction and interactions recorded in the public and private domains. These transactions are recorded in an encrypted and distributed database. Distributed ledgers are built on cryptographic tools supported by distributed consensus mechanism. This was a significant innovation for records management. The distributed ledger is expressed as a tamper-evident electronic ledger for all practical purposes.The electronic ledger is shared within a network of computers. The digital ledger is accessible across the WAN and is not bound to be kept in a single place. The ledger holds a record of transactions between the participating entities. The set of transactions often called as transaction collections are stored in the data segment of a blockchain providing a meaning to the block component of the Blockchain. The blocks in turn are stored chronologically.
Blockchain as a technology was designed for sharing transaction information across interested parties. The technology holds the potential for all participants in a business network to share a system of transaction records.It is expected to be used in a variety of industries and for a variety of reasons. One such domain vertical is the banking and finance vertical. Some of the interesting and novel applications are discussed in brief here.
From a banking and financial domain point of view, Blockchain reduces the cost of establishing trust among participating entities. Trust is an essential element in all financial transactions. The current digital economy is built around a trusted authority as a third party. The role of a trusted third party is played by banks. All online transactions rely on trusting someone to tell us the truth. Blockchain has the capability to redefine the digital realm with dispersed consensus mechanism, where all online transactions from various time slots,concerning digital assets can be corroborated at any time in the future. The distributed ledgers in a public / private domain are driven by smart contracts eliminating third party interventions bringing the cost of trust and transparency.
The Blockchain is promising. Transferring to a Blockchain system would definitely speed up services like worldwide payments,equity clearing, trade finance, and loans
Conventionally, banking and financial transactions were recorded in ledgers which later moved to centralized electronic ledgers. Reconciliation was time consuming, and an example for this is Intra bank cross-border payments. Different parties work with copies of the electronic ledger and transact through messages. The essential strength of Blockchain is the elimination of duplicate data with an improved settlement. Blockchain saves on reconciliation cost between banks and prevents losses due to documentary frauds. It can be used to facilitate payments and settlements in a range of different circumstances, offering near real-time transfer of funds and settlement time reduction.
Banks are conscious of data quality. On a conventional platform transactional data resides in duplicate locations. Interested parties with malicious motive move in for altering the stored data. This can be avoided with Blockchain. A mutual contract struck between any set of transacting entities in the blockchain network is generally termed as a transaction. Blockchain helps in managing the transactional data quality. With Blockchain, the transactions get validated and distributed based on smart contracts. They are fragments of software that spread block chains’ value from a record of financial operations entries to automatically applying terms of multi-party agreements. Each transaction or contract between two or more members in the network requires verification or validation by the network. Validated generic Blockchain transactions are called smart contracts. Smart contracts are embedded in Blockchain networks. These are commonly agreed on terms between parties which automatically execute once conditions are met.
Smart contracts built on electronic ledgers open up a new dimension of financial supply chain transactions. This is another interesting domain of the application area. The smart contracts can be useful for tracking the letters of credit, bills of lading etc. along the financial supply chain downstream and up-stream. Bitcoin technology helps in increased reporting of financial supply chain transactional data.
The conventional banking processes are usually linear, similar to the assembly line of the manufacturing industry, for example,the maker-checker/cross check/approval processes. The purpose of the maker-checker process is to help the banks and financial Institutions to emphasize control leading to decisions.This hierarchical decision process, leads to delays in decision-making, leading to longer processing time. Blockchain simplifies the decision making process, with distributed ledgers.
The Blockchain is promising. Transferring to a Blockchain system would definitely speed up services like worldwide payments, equity clearing, trade finance, and loans. More>>
The focus to establish distributed, ecosystem-enabling technical infrastructure platforms is rewriting business models in payments, digital banking and financial transaction technologies. Blockchain riding on distributed ecosystem platforms is capturing the attention of global business segments. Banks and financial units are experimenting with Blockchain Technology to redefine transaction journey and processes.
Blockchain operating on distributed ecosystem platforms can transform money management systems and is emerging as the foundation of a new set of applications that involve transactions recorded in public and private domains. Blockchain holds the potential for all participants in a business network to share a system of records through shared ledgers.
Blockchain provides a distributed digital ledger, filled with transactions which are visible in the network. A blockchain consists of three key components: transaction, transaction record and the system that verifies and stores the transaction. These components help participants publish transactions to the shared ledgers which are in encrypted form. Blockchain chronologically stores the information of all the transactions using cryptography to keep exchanges secure. Once a record is created and accepted by the blockchain, it can never be altered.
Distributed ledger technologies are built on cryptographic tools. They are supported by distributed consensus algorithms. They are tamper-evident electronic ledger shared within a network, accessible across WAN. The transactions in a blockchain network are stored in the form of a Tree. Transactions are included in the data segment of a blockchain. The blocks are stored chronologically in a blockchain ledge. Blocks are distributed across the network. Blockchains address the availability and there is no single point of failure.
Distributed ledgers may be applied in areas which involve contracts or transactions relying on trusted third parties for verification. As the current digital economy is based on a certain trusted authority, all online transactions rely on role of banks as trusted third party. Distributed ledgers remove the need for third parties, reducing the transaction fee in the system. Holding transactions between participating entities removing third parties, will lower operational costs and decrease manual reconciliation efforts. To post a ledger entry, consensus among counterparties is required. Supported by distributed consensus, no single entity has the ability to individually manipulate the data on a ledger, making distributed ledgers immutable stores of information.
From the banking and financial point of view, blockchain reduces the cost of establishing trust. It offers an inherent level of trust for the user, eliminating the need for middleman and mitigating risk of human error. It allows consumers and suppliers to connect directly, removing the need for a third party. The blockchain’s security is built on the use of a cryptographic hash functions. The security, resiliency, and transparency of blockchain could boost investor confidence and trust. Shared ledgers are rewriting the digital world by enabling a distributed consensus. Distributed ledger systems are being tested in payment processing, trade finance, and back-office recordkeeping functions. They are potential candidates for trading OTC derivatives, swaps, bonds, commodities, and unregistered securities, as well as syndicated loans, and ware-house receipts.
Conventional banking and financial transactions like clearing and settlement were recorded in ledgers. Financial transactions, regardless of the asset type, requires (1) Network of participants, (2) Asset or set of assets that are transferred among those participants, and (3) Transfer process that defines the procedures associated with the transaction which are recorded in the ledgers. Participants communicate by sending electronic messages, acknowledgements, statements, and other information across the network. Reconciliation was attempted with such messages. Reconciliation of data was time-consuming with intra-bank cross-border payment being one of the areas of concern. The essential strength of blockchain is the elimination of duplicate data with improved settlement. The advent of Blockchain saves on reconciliation cost between the banks and prevents losses due to documentary frauds. Blockchain can facilitate payments and settlements offering near real-time transfer of funds and settlement time reduction creating value. Optimized settlement window reduces cost to trade, improving liquidity if capital is recycled back into the market.
On a conventional platform transactional data resides in duplicate locations. Interested parties move in for altering the stored data for personal reasons. Each transaction or contract between two or more members in the network requires verification or validation by the network. With the benefit of Blockchain the transactions gets validated and distributed based on smart contract rules. Validated generic blockchain transactions are called Smart Contracts. Smart contracts can be embedded in blockchain networks. They are commonly agreed terms between parties which will automatically execute once conditions are met. Smart contracts built on electronic ledgers open up a new dimension of financial supply chain transactions. They are useful for tracking letters of credit, bills of lading, etc. along the supply chain down-stream and up-stream. The shared ledgers in a public / private domain are driven by smart contracts eliminating third party interventions. The entire sequence of actions taken in a smart contract are propagated across the network and/or recorded on the blockchain, and therefore are publicly visible. Despite the eloquence of the blockchain and smart contracts, the present form of these technologies lacks transactional privacy.
Most of the conventional banking processes are linear and hierarchical. While the maker-checker-approver process helps the banks to gain control and puts the emphasis on ownership of decisions, it delays decision making with longer processing time, costs and lower customer satisfaction. Blockchain can radically alter the way transactions are processed by banks and financial institutions today. Switching to a blockchain system could speed up services such as global payments, trade finance, syndicated loans and equity clearing. It is expected to be used in a variety of industries and for a variety of reasons. More>>
Hyderabad, 22nd June 2017: HTC Global Services, a global provider of IT & ITeS today announced the acquisition of Ciber Inc, a US based global information technology consulting services and outsourcing company. The acquisition comes at a cost of $93 Million USD.
This strategic move is aimed towards further strengthening HTC Global Services’ position worldwide. The acquisition of Ciber Inc will add over 3500 employees to HTC Global Services’ operations globally.
Headquartered in Michigan, HTC Global Services has global delivery centres across multiple time zones in North America, India and Malaysia. HTC Global Services’ operation in India is spread across Chennai and Hyderabad. HTC Global Services acquired CareTech Solutions earlier in 2014 to expand its horizon in the Healthcare industry.
Commenting on the acquisition, Mr. Madhava Reddy, CEO, HTC Global Services, said “This acquisition will further boost the organization’s ability to deliver exceptional customer service, deep expertise in cutting edge technologies, and passionate focus on building trusting relationships. With the acquisition of Care Tech Solutions and Ciber Inc we are confident of achieving our vision of USD 1 Billion by 2020. We will be recruiting another 5000 employees by the year 2020.”
The combined strength of both the companies will help HTC to offer customers a comprehensive set of services and fulfill an integral part of strategic material growth, across a range of industry sectors. This acquisition will also help HTC in expanding its footprint in other parts of US. The addition of Ciber’s workforce will propel the company’s growth into the marketplace.
As both the companies share common and firm value systems, we foresee a bright and prosperous future with the ability to compete better at any level.
BOSTON, June 13, 2017 – Duck Creek Technologies announced today that HTC Global Services (HTC) has joined its Global Alliance Program. HTC’s significant capabilities as a delivery partner will provide expert system integration, analytics, and long-term technical support for property and casualty insurers utilizing Duck Creek solutions.
Vani Prasad, vice president – insurance services at HTC noted, “The Duck Creek Suite is the most complete solution in the market for insurers looking to modernize and get ready for tomorrow. Our partnership with Duck Creek will accelerate the pace of business transformation in the insurance industry, providing cutting-edge solutions that go far beyond customer expectations.”
Duck Creek’s Global Alliance Program is comprised of delivery, solution, and technology members who play a crucial role in providing complementary software services and solutions to insurers of all sizes. HTC has extensive domain and technical expertise that will be applied to the transformational and modernization projects of customers utilizing Duck Creek’s solutions, delivered via the cloud or on premises.
“To support our ongoing commitment to deliver our solutions to insurers, quickly and efficiently, we look to trusted partners like HTC to work with us to accelerate implementation projects and support long-term application maintenance,” said Eddie Jones, vice president – strategy and alliances, Duck Creek Technologies. “The combination of our solutions and HTC’s technology expertise in areas of modernization and business transformation, will help insurers respond to the industry’s rapid pace of change and better serve the needs of their customers.”
Troy Michigan, June 08, 2017: HTC Global Services acquires the North American and India operations of Ciber, Inc. (CIBER), a global information technology consulting services and outsourcing company, headquartered in Greenwood Village, CO, USA.
According to Madhava Reddy, CEO, HTC Global Services, “This acquisition will further boost the organization’s ability to deliver exceptional customer service, deep expertise in cutting edge technologies, and passionate focus on building trusting relationships.”
The combined strength of both companies will enable HTC to offer customers a comprehensive set of services and solutions, and fulfill its strategic growth objectives across industry verticals. This acquisition will also help HTC in expanding its footprint in other parts of the US. The addition of Ciber’s workforce will propel the company’s growth into the marketplace.
As both companies share common and firm value systems, we foresee a bright and prosperous future with the ability to successfully compete with many levels of transformational technology.
Chary Mudumby, CTO – HTC Global Services explains the benefits of utilising mobility solutions in optimising post discharge
care by hospitals and how technology can be leveraged to attain business growth, in an interaction with Raelene Kambli
What functions need to be performed as part of the post discharge care?
Hospitals are complex environments performing many connected and synchronised activities as well as event-based activities in
providing patient care. There are a slew of activities that need to be performed to allow for safe discharge of the patient.
Proper planning for post discharge care is very important. This includes the medications, exercises, relaxation techniques
including meditation, diet, lab tests, administration of simple procedures using home equipment such as nebulisers, follow-up
visit schedule and any literature that might help patients in understanding the dos and don’ts. Hospitals should also plan on
proper monitoring of the medical condition of the patients depending on the disease. At the minimum, hospitals need to make
follow-up phone calls inquiring the general well-being, monitor parameters that are pertinent to the condition of the patient
such as sugar levels, blood pressure and more importantly alert them on the tests they need to go through.
What are the challenges faced by hospitals in maintaining and providing good quality post discharge care?
The first challenge is in providing all the relevant information to patients or their caregivers, before the discharge.
Patients usually are home-sick and will be in a hurry to get back. A proper documentation of everything that a patient needs to
follow at home in-order to recuperate, regain and maintain health must be given in a referenceable and easily understandable
format with no ambiguity. Hospitals need to maintain adequate staff for the post discharge follow-up. Most hospitals are
generally short staffed even to handle the patient care while patients are still in the hospital. Another challenge is that
many hospitals do not have an integrated electronic health or medical records systems.
What are the pre-requisites for building improved patient monitoring systems in order to provide post discharge care?
A good planning, availability of well documented general information for various common diseases and conditions which can be
modified to suit a particular patient’s need, an adequately staffed post discharge care unit for necessary follow-ups and
recording of the information from the follow-up are necessary to implement a good post discharge care. Such a care surely
reduces the recurrence of the disease or manages it within limits.
How can mobility solutions help in overcoming these challenges?
All the instructions to the patients or the care-givers can be delivered in a very friendly format on the smart phones and
tabs. User experience can be enhanced using augmented reality. For example, patients using their mobile camera can scan the
medicine or the home equipment or the icons that are provided to them representing diet, lab tests etc., in order to view
relevant specific information customised to the patient.
With the connected medical devices that use IoT, patients will be able to make the information on the vitals etc, directly
available in real-time to the health providers. In addition, disease specific monitoring apps can be provided by the hospitals
to the patients. Patients will in turn be able to use these apps which will automatically provide the information to the
hospitals for monitoring and preventing the reoccurrence of conditions through proactive measures as well as early intervention
where necessary. For example, we developed a mobile app for a hospital to monitor the health condition of infants with
congenital cardiac conditions. This is a simple to use in-home monitoring app to be used by the parents or other care givers of
the infants. This provides information to the medical staff to help them detect worsening health conditions with signs of poor
systemic oxygenation, acute dehydration and respiratory distress.
Explain the role of healthcare analytics in post discharge care?
Analytics help hospitals to continuously improve post discharge care. All the information that is monitored and collected
through post discharge care programmes can be analysed to identify common causes, conditions under which the symptoms or
conditions re-occur, and the population dynamics and demographics that causes the occurrence of conditions. This helps in
devising better home care programmes post discharge.
Can post discharge services backed by healthcare analytics reduce readmission rates within hospitals?
A well planned and designed post discharge care programme will proactively identify the health conditions of the patients
before they worsen and require admission for the in-patient care in the hospital’s intensive care units or others. For example,
a long-term diabetic patient with a history of kidney issues needs to be monitored carefully at home, maintaining the sugar
levels through insulin or other medication while looking for the parameters to alert on Kidney and heart conditions such as
increased creatinine levels, oxygenation etc. Early identification of these symptoms allow for the relief from the condition or
symptoms with intervention that can be performed at home or through simple out-patient visits and procedures, thus reducing the
occurrence of a serious condition requiring admission into the hospital.
What impact it can have on the hospital’s balance sheet?
Hospitals need not look at reduction in readmissions as reduction in revenues. In most places in the world, there is a shortage
of hospitals, equipment, beds and medical staff including nurses. As a result, a number of people are always in queue, waiting
for appointments and vacancy in the hospitals for admissions.
Will it help to reduce the operating cost of the hospitals or will these services add to the cost?
A good monitoring programme will cost money, but this is a good investment. Use of technology especially mobility and IoT will
come in handy to bring down the costs of post discharge care. These costs can be passed on to the patients as part of the
hospital charges for their visits or as a separate charge for specialised post discharge care in cases where it is necessary.
This can be an incremental cost to the patients but the patient’s overall healthcare costs will be down as he/she has fewer
How can hospitals use these technologies to improve business success?
Mobility and IoT backed by analytics and machine learning will definitely provide better care to the patients in increasing the
health of the patient as well as aggregate health of population. While hospitals should still be concerned with disease
management, the focus needs to shift to wellness management. Any population has people with illness, and healthy individuals or
supposedly healthy individuals whose health conditions have not been discovered yet. People with illness have varying degrees
of sickness – occasional sickness to chronic to very sick to terminally sick. Hospitals have been generally engaged in dealing
with sick patients leaving out the healthy people or people on the boarder of sickness. A hospital or health system backed by
technology with proactive outlook, focusing on the wellness will serve a higher population compared to those that are involved
in just disease management. Those institutions will contribute to the overall health of the population progressively reducing
the sickness. Those institutions will be successful businesses serving satisfied patrons not patients.
TechConnect 2017, a one day conference focusing on innovation through disruptive technologies took place in Chennai on 16th March 2017 at ITC Grand Chola. Addressing the role of technology in transforming the global healthcare industry, the conference was conducted by HTC Global Services in partnership with IBM and Plante Moran.
With the burgeoning Indian Healthcare Industry standing at a US $ 100 bn (approximately), the real need of the hour is quality healthcare spread across the country. With the advent of technology, the healthcare industry is undergoing tremendous transformation and many innovative solutions are developed to address the key gaps. The conference promises to address key challenges developed exclusively for the healthcare industry in areas like patient monitoring, post discharge care, and many more.
The inaugural edition of the conference, with distinguished panelists from across the globe showcased breakthrough trends in technologies and also attempted to bridge the existing gaps experienced in disruptive technologies. Covering a broad set of topics, starting from Cloud, IoT, Cyber Security, Data Management and Analytics to Mobility and Connected cars, the session engaged in discussions crucial to the advancement of healthcare industry.
Besides healthcare industry, the one-day conference offered insights into the accelerated trends in IT Industry and their implications on day-to-day business with focus on reimaging technology across key industry sectors like Manufacturing, Banking and Financial Services, and Automotive. More>>
Chennai, March 2017: Emphasizing on theneed for innovative practices through disruptive technologies to bolster the growth of IT sector in India, HTC Global Services’today organized a global conference, TechConnect 2017 in Chennai. With distinguished speakers from across the globe, the conference offered key insights into the accelerated trends in the IT Industry and their implications on day-to-day business. The conference was inaugurated by Mr. John Fleming, Principal Commercial Officer, US Consulate – Chennai in the presences of HTC Global Services’ management and key speakers.
Organized in partnership with IBM and Plante Moran, the key focus of the theme was on reimaging technology across key industry sectors like Automotive and Manufacturing, Banking and Financial Services, and Healthcare. Eminent speakers from the panel also showcased breakthrough trends in technologies which have helpedin bridging gaps experienced in disruptive technologies.
Commenting on the conference and its impact on the industry, Mr. Madhava Reddy, President & CEO, HTC Global Servicessaid, “More than ever, pace of evolution of new technologies is impacting our day-to-day lives and our businesses. It is important for us to survive and thrive with the onslaught of these emerging technologies. HTC Global Services TechConnect 2017 is an attempt to get renowned industry experts to highlight the depth of these technologies and their impact on our business and society at large.”
The power packed sessions spearheaded by industry veterans covered current topics in technology like Cloud, IoT, Cyber Security, Data Management and Analytics to Mobility. The sessions engaged in discussions crucial to the advancement of various industries like Automotive and Manufacturing, Banking and Financial Services, and Healthcare.The captivating panel discussion also brought forth key elements of the emerging industry trends with a focus on transformative technology.
About HTC Global Services: HTC is a leading global Information Technology (IT) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services and solutions provider. Headquartered in USA, HTC has 26 years of experience in providing IT and BPO services to Automotive and Manufacturing, Banking and Financial Services, Government, Insurance, Media and Publishing, Healthcare, Retail and Education verticals. HTC offers services in Application Development and Maintenance, Application Re-engineering, Application Integration, Testing, Data Management and Analytics, Enterprise Mobility, ERP, CRM, Enterprise Content Management, IT Infrastructure Management, and BPO. HTC offers services across various geographical areas such as North America, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific. HTC’s processes are compliant to SEI CMM Level 5 and certified to ISO 9001:2015, and ISO 27001 standards. More>>
HTC Global Services, a global provider of IT solutions and Business Process Outsourcing solutions, is recognised widely as IT and IT enabled service provider. The company also has a walk-through in manufacturing solutions especially to automotive industry. Automotive industry’s major hiccups are identified and need-based-solutions are coded by the company. Artificial intelligence is the topic which has been highlighted by the company. The three-pronged strategies like machine learning, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions and predictive maintenance are also featured.
Data analysis is the only solution in the market as more and more technologies are getting evolved. That is going to be the root cause for research and development. Artificial Intelligence will optimise the processes and reduce the R&D expenses. Data analysis gets varied with the patterns. In turn machine learning depends on the patterns within the data. Managing a large amount of data is cumbersome and ‘Big Data’ has come to us as a rescue. The ‘Big Data’ is capable of analysing extremely large sets of data and reveal patterns, trends and associations. Irrelevant associations and patterns at times will give solutions for a stagnant issue. The processed data can identify the patterns and machines can learn from the algorithms and predict any failure involved in the components well in advance.
Any company which does predictive maintenance could get a cost leverage of up to 20%, the company stated. “We are working with OEMs, component suppliers (Tier-1s) to comply with the standards and regulations. We also give shop floor solutions through which lean manufacturing techniques are adapted. Traditional way of statistical calculation does give solutions computing the data but the patterns keep on changing. Hence the process has to be recurrent and will be incommodious. But with artificial intelligence machines are able to adjust the algorithms correlating with the patterns,” Chary Mudumby, Chief Technology Officer, HTC Global Services, said.
With ERP in place there are a lot of advantages not only in deducing patterns from data but also in the Supply Chain Management. For data analysis through ERP, SAP HANA (High Performance Analytic Appliance) is involved. Based on the data from different sources any upstream changes could be handled. It is also not necessary to go for customised coding as the investment is capital-intensive. Through cloud available algorithms can be subscribed and component-wise betterment is achieved through data analytics. Traceability down the level is a major challenge as tier-3 suppliers lack the needed infrastructure. In order to leverage advantage from the scratch, a bottom-up approach is needed. Cloud computing is advisable which will not fire the pocket of the tier-3s and concurrently highlights the lacunae.
The factories which have predictive maintenance in the shop floor can increase their efficiency. They can work on downtime, inventory management and change-over lags. The machines also need to check their health and that is also possible. “We are automating the operations where the machines can identify the temperature and humidity. For electronic components this will be more applicable. The data flow has to be seamless and there should be concurrence in engineering system, ERP system and execution system,” highlighted Mudumby.
The company also provides telematic solutions to the companies. In the ERP system itself, the company interfaces telematics. Every information is recorded like the driver behaviour, speed of the vehicle, the path followed which will act as data for various solutions to be arrived at. The company is using its telematic solutions to keep a track of its own fleet. “With 10000+ workers we need telematics to track our own fleet. We are also working on various complaints and code solutions,” Mudumby said.
The future plans in manufacturing sector is orienting towards technology areas like machine learning, the company stated. “We have Python like tools which facilitate machine learning. India is a very big market for us next to the US. In China we support the companies that have base in the US and India and using our solutions but we have not designated China as one of our ‘Development Centres’, concluded Mudumby.
Companies are always trying to find the best way to store data in a meaningful format so that they can make better business decisions. Since the birth of data warehousing almost 30 years ago, numerous innovations in data management have been made, such as Hadoop and NoSQL. According to experts, SAP HANA has established itself as a baseline for further innovation by having introduced its High-Performance Analytic Appliance (HANA), a platform for processing high volumes of operational and transactional data in real time. Arun Kumar VC, Senior General Manager – Enterprise Solutions, HTC Global Services, shares the insights on developments and challenges faced by companies while adopting SAP HANA
Chennai, 24th November, 2015: US-based IT firm HTC Global Services has said that it will become a billion dollar firm by 2020, driven in large part by the acquisition of CareTech Solutions Inc, which was roughly the same in size, in December 2014.
The company said that it is also talking to another US firm for a potential acquisition.
Madhava Reddy, president and CEO, HTC Global Services told Business Standard said that the IT/ITeS business of the company in 2014 was around $320 million and expects a moderate growth in 2015, which may end with revenue of around $320-330 million.
He attributed the moderate growth to the acquisition of CareTech Solutions Inc, the benefit of which will be seen 2016 onwards. Reddy noted that the average growth of HTC Global has been around 10-15%.
‘We expect to reach $1 billion by 2020 and CareTech will play a significant role. Around 50 per cent of the target would come from CareTech,’ Reddy said. He added that while most of the growth would come organically, HTC is in talks with a US-based firm for a potential acquisition, mainly for its data centre infrastructure. He declined to divulge any more details about the deal.
‘We felt the acquisition is an integral part of our strategy of exponential growth in our chosen areas of IT (information technology) competencies and it is performing as planned. CareTech not only brought matured solution, but also a good leadership team and employee base,’ said Reddy.
Chary Mudumby, executive vice president, HTC Global Services (India) Pvt Ltd added that the company started implementing some of the CareTech solutions among the Indian health care players as pilot and got some good traction for the same. The company hopes to expand it in the coming months.
According to him CareTech has implemented its solutions in over 5,000 hospitals in US. CareTech, provides focused IT services and solutions to the healthcare industry, expanded HTC Global ServicesQOUTE footprint in the US and also broadened its range of service offerings.
HTC Global has a headcount of around 8,000 people across the globe, of which 6,500 are in IT space; of 3500 of those are based in India. Reddy said that the company will raise its headcount to around 20,000 by 2020.
The company has already set up infrastructure, including a Rs 100 crore development centre in Chennai that can accommodate up to 4,500 employees, as part of its expansion plans.
Singapore, 5th June, 2015: Sprooki, Asia’s leading mobile engagement system (www.sprooki.com) is pleased to announce further expansion into Malaysia via a strategic partnership recently secured with IT solutions specialist HTC Global Services Inc (HTCGS).
The partnership with HTCGS represents another significant milestone for Sprooki, as it continues to exploit its early mover advantage and cement its position a market leader and industry standard for location-based mcommerce engagement in the Asia Pacific region. HTCGS provides world-class, state-of-the-art customised IT services and solutions to a number of leading Malaysian organisations and Fortune 500 companies and has operated in the country for over 13 years.
With clients across many different industries including retail, the partnership agreement between HTCGS and Sprooki will deliver excellent growth opportunities for both companies. HTCGS is a market leader in the provisioning of sourcing and supply chain solutions, store and web applications, mobile commerce solutions, merchandise management, marketing and sales systems and data warehousing and business intelligence.
In addition to acting as a reseller for Sprooki, HTCGS will also cover the implementation of Sprooki including training, development of mobile applications and interfaces and advisory services for new retail customers.
The expansion into Malaysia is another exciting step for Sprooki, and one which positions Sprooki to capitalise on a rapidly changing retail landscape in the Asia Pacific region. ‘Malaysia was one of the world’s first markets to adopt mobile internet and smartphones. The market is now enjoying rapid growth in e-commerce through both local and international sites,’ said Claire Mula, Executive Director of Sprooki. ‘As a truly mobile-first internet market, Sprooki is delighted to partner with HTC Global Services as they turn on omni-channel and mobile strategies for Malaysian retailers and malls.’
Forbes has forecast e-commerce transactions in Malaysia to grow to US$1.4 billion in 2015, up from US$253 million in 2011, and mobile phone penetration continues to grow at a rapid rate, with 144 mobile subscriptions per 100 people in 2013.
Sprooki provides Asia’s largest malls and leading retailers with a location-based retail system they can use on a daily basis to win more consumers where and when they choose to shop. The solution is a head-start for multi-channel retailers and malls and comprises Sprooki’s cloud-hosted platform, back-end administration and analytics, software development tools and apps for mobile devices. In addition, Sprooki provides implementation services to help retail sector clients get to market quickly, cost effectively with even greater success. Founded on the belief that connected devices has been the biggest change to retailing in many years, responsible for a new generation of smarter, connected shoppers, Sprooki’s system provides a number of customizable modules for malls and retail enterprises including Campaign Rewards, Mobile Shop, Indoor Messaging and Analytics.
Troy, Michigan, 18th December 2014: HTC Global Services, a global provider of Information Technology (IT) Solutions and IT Enabled Services, announced today that it has acquired CareTech Solutions, Inc. (CareTech), an IT and Web products and services provider for U.S. hospitals and healthcare systems. Both companies are headquartered in Troy, Michigan.
‘This acquisition is an integral part of our strategy of exponential growth in our chosen areas of IT competencies’ said Madhava Reddy, President and CEO of HTC Global Services who will also take on the role of Chairman of CareTech Solutions.
‘CareTech will retain its brand name and operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of HTC under its current leadership team. The addition of a successful company like CareTech, which provides focused IT services and solutions to the Healthcare Industry, expands our footprint in the USA and allows us to strengthen and broaden our range of service offerings. This is an excellent opportunity to increase job opportunities in Michigan and to expand our services globally, he added.
Jim Giordano will continue to lead CareTech as its President and CEO. ‘CareTech and HTC share the same values, culture and commitment to customer service that helped rank CareTech as an industry leader,’ said Giordano. ‘I am confident that the combination of our two companies will further strengthen our value proposition, providing additional services for our customers and new opportunities for our employees. This is an exciting time for all of us,’ he added.
Chennai, 25th September 2014: HTC Global Services announced the partnership with BSG Global, South Korea on 25th September, 2014. The strategic partnership would bring-in the HTC Global Services’ SAP expertise to South Korean market. Commenting on this Mr. Chary Mudumby, Executive Vice President, HTC Global Services said, ‘We are very happy to partner with BSG Global in South Korea. We would like to capitalize on BSG’s strong presence in South Korea, and their proven track record of excellence in SAP projects. Likewise, BSG will benefit from HTC Global Services presence and expertise which it will be able to take to their Korean MNCs.’
The Kuali Foundation is proud to announce that HTC Global Services, Inc has joined the Kuali OLE partnership as a Tier 1 investment partner.
Chennai, 26th August 2014: Kuali OLE (Open Library Environment) is a robust, open source, enterprise-wide, easy-to-use system for selecting, acquiring, and describing library information resources. It is being developed using the same investment model that created the successful Kuali Financial System and has an international group of libraries who serve as founding partners of the software. In becoming a Tier 1 investment partner, HTC Global Services, Inc. will strengthen its ties to the development of Kuali OLE by having a seat on the OLE Board as well as on the Functional and Technical Councils. This will enable closer communications between HTC and the Kuali OLE Project Board.
‘HTC Global Services is a trusted partner in the Kuali community and Kuali OLE is honored to have them join as a Tier 1 Partner,’ said Bruce Taggart, Kuali OLE Board Chair and Vice-Provost for Library and Technology Services at Lehigh University. ‘Kuali OLE has a long-standing relationship with HTC as its lead development partner and this new collaboration will further enhance our mutual goals for delivering a superb next-generation library management system.’
No stranger to the Kuali community, HTC Global Services, Inc. is a proven Kuali implementation partner. They have successfully partnered in implementing the Kuali Financial System (KFS) at Michigan State University and have been working closely with the SOAS-University of London Kuali OLE implementation. HTC sees Kuali OLE as a natural progression for their Kuali practice as institutions continue to adopt open source and community-based licenses for applications designed and built for higher education.
‘This move is an exciting step forward in the relationship between Kuali OLE and HTC. The partnership will enable closer ties between our two organizations and will lead to collaborative approaches around new markets for the Kuali OLE software for libraries’, says Vani Prasad, Vice-President, HTC Global Services and lead on Kuali OLE development.
Plans to recruit 10,000 employees
Chennai, 29th July 2014: HTC Global Services, a US based leading global provider of IT and IT enabled services is gearing up for exponential growth in the coming years. It is opening a state of the art development center in Chennai to house 4,500 employees in order to support its ITO and BPO growth. In addition to its highly talented work-force of 6500+, HTC Global Services plans to recruit 10,000 employees globally over the next few years.
HTC Global Services wins the annual Aetna Supplier Award for 2014 after receiving the highest score in the annual Supplier Business Review.
M.C.Rangachary, General Manager (Human Performance) and Senior Consultant, HTC Global Services firmly believes and adheres to the adage that learning does not conclude at the class room. He has therefore been forthcoming with training programmes that concentrate on individual employee development with a purview on corporate objectives.
Even though HTC was started in 1990, it has not grown to become an IT biggie like several others who came into being around the same time or even later. Can you elaborate?
Yes, you are right in a way. HTC Global Services has taken time to grow unlike some companies, which were started around the same time and grew into IT biggies. The primary reason for this is that as an organisation we have always focused on organic growth and never opted for the inorganic route. We focused on building long-term relationships and establishing a strong client base. It may be uncommon in this industry, but this is the route we have travelled. Till now, HTC Global Services has never lost a customer. As a result, we have a developed a lasting relationship with our customers which has also given us an opportunity to gain a strong and deep sense of understanding about the industry. This is true even with our employees. There are several of them who have been associated with us for over 20 years.
Besides, we have prioritised quality over mass production and that is one of the reasons for our slow yet steady growth. It may not be the norm with most IT companies, but that is what we believed to be the growth mantra. We were conservative in our approach and we could not afford to commit big mistakes, which come with bigger costs. As a result, every customer and every dollar was important to us and we could not afford to lose even a single one. In a way, as a founder, I had a humble beginning and I remain the same.
But now that we have a good management team in place and a good customer base, it gives me confidence to go out and do bigger things. HTC Global Services is a privately held company and we have never seen the need do make a big flash to impress anyone. Now, due to our increased customer base and to meet their increasing requirements, we are looking at aggressive growth strategies.
As part of the new strategy, we did our first acquisition last December, wherein we acquired CareTech Solutions, a leading IT solution expert for the healthcare sector in the US. Interestingly, both the companies are headquartered in Troy, Michigan, and it so happened that, CareTech too was as big as HTC Global Services. While CareTech was a $168 million company, the combined entity (including HTC Global Services) has revenues to the tune of about $320 million in the US region. The past year was mostly spent on integrating the two companies, understanding the strengths, and bringing in greater focus for long-term growth. The time has come to build HTC Global Services as a billion dollar company in about five years from now.
The company shifted gears over the last one year to speed up the growth pace. What are the improvements on that front?
We have invested in emerging technologies such as big data, mobility, social media and analytics. We are also creating cutting edge solutions and patenting our solutions. Stylometrics is an example. We have created regulatory and compliance related products in the banking sector and also established a service desk to serve customers especially in the areas of healthcare, retail and insurance.
Alongside, we have created a world class BPO facility in Chennai to cater to customers in the areas of accounting, back office, digitisation and e-books. This facility has a capacity to seat 4,500 people over three shifts. It is now operating in two shifts with 1,600- 1,700 employees and we can easily add another 3,000 more. Also, one of the key highlights of this year has been a reduction in attrition rates in our organisation due to the top class facilities.
In the US, we are strengthening our sales bandwidth. We are a delivery focused company and are now hiring more salespeople in both the east and west coasts. We are seeing lot of traction not only in the US, but also in APAC and West Asia.
HTC has also been looking at the Indian market to expand its operations. How far has it succeeded in that?
We have created a niche product and a solution for banks in India to help them meet RBI’s compliance regulations and sold it to over 20 banks. We are also coming out with new features to include import and foreign exchange transaction-related compliance in addition to export regulations and compliance. We also saw that many of the banks need good master data management systems to handle single version of truth across lines of business such as credit cards, current accounts, loans and so on. This enables them to cross-sell effectively.
Besides, we are focusing on government sector with eBAP, which is our open source-based ERP product. We have sold it to about 15 government institutions in Tamil Nadu and other states.
Apart from this, SAP solutions are provided for tier-1 and tier-2 automotive companies, as well as non-automotive organisations across India. Our centres of excellence in emerging technologies such as mobility, IoT and big data are developing cutting edge solutions for healthcare and retail clients in India and APAC market.
The company was keen to take forward its IP-led strategy. Can you elaborate?
As I already said, we have developed products for the banks and financial sector. Some of the algorithms we developed help customers in fraud detection, security management and sentiment analysis.
What are the future plans for the company in terms of growth and acquisition?
The company will primarily be driven by organic growth. When it comes to acquisitions, any strategic opportunity, in terms of technology, geography or industry, will be looked at. Otherwise, primarily our focus will be on organic growth. We have a large presence in Chennai and Hyderabad in India. In Michigan, where the company is headquartered, we recently expanded our presence by adding a 300,000 sq ft facility. Our headcount is around 8,500 now, which could touch 20,000 by 2020.
Major IT players are focusing more on digital services of late. What are the companyQOUTEs initiatives on that front?
We are focussing on these disruptive technologies, especially in the areas of mobility, big data and social media. We take the mobile first approach and user experience takes the centrestage of our development. Since, we have a long-term relationship with our clients, we also advise them and help them bring in digital transformations to enhance their customer experience and increase market share.
What are the major challenges for the IT industry in 2016?
Some of the challenges are perennial. When we expand business, we look for resources. The gap between academics and industry has been steadily growing. Hence, we focus on world class training. We have state of the art infrastructure and projects in cutting edge technologies. This enables us to attract the best talent from the industry. We have very good human performance practices, which provide the best training to our employees on EQ and leadership skills. Our goal is to be the vendor, or more importantly, a partner of choice to our customers and an employer of choice to our employees.
President & CEO Mr. Madhava Reddy with our Honorable Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi at the dinner hosted for top Indian origin entrepreneurs during his recent visit to US.