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How India's IT majors are becoming more customer-friendly

May 15, 2017 15:37 IST

As Indian IT service entities mature into multi-billion dollar organisations employing thousands, the pressure has increased on them from clients to identify and solve customer problems than working on predefined parameters.

UVO is an employee chatbot (a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the internet). One that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to solve queries and engage with the 117,000 employees at Tech Mahindra (TechM), the information technology services major.

The self-help tool, built on its enterprise chatbot framework, Entellio, from their Makers Lab, is used to instantly respond to queries on personnel issues from employees. Typically, queries on standard policies would be raised to a back-end shared services team which would take as much as four hours for response.

The chatbot has eliminated the delay and also trains itself to respond to more complex questions. It specialises in conversational speech to help search, converse and also provide support. And, is also reportedly capable of understanding human emotions.

“Chatbots can also automate the lower-end jobs and move people toward more complicated work or innovation-led work, both within company and for our clients,” said Sucharita Palepu, global head for ‘People Practices’ at TechM.

In the next two phases, the chatbot will also be trained to resolve emotional queries by an employee and offer voice-enabled support, working as a digital assistant on things like booking of tickets and  applying for leave.

Having demonstrated the tool with its employees and seen the results, TechM plans to take this to clients globally. It is engaged with a few clients for an experimental project.

Indian IT service entities have traditionally been focusing on delivering services based on client directions. As they mature into multi-billion dollar organisations employing thousands, the pressure has increased on them from clients to identify and solve customer problems than working on predefined parameters.

So, they’re now putting to use their own organisations as test beds, to build solutions, which they take to customers. For instance, L&T Technology Services is building a model for personal protection equipment, to improve safety and the performance of construction engineers and workers. It is collaborating with parent Larsen & Toubro on this.

While demonstrating the solution at its various construction sites (200,000 workers at these, across India), the company equips workers and engineers with helmets, gloves, jackets and shoes that have sensors capturing their performance, and sending it to a centralised database on the cloud.

The solution helps in identifying the factors on safety of workers in remote places, a crucial thing in large distributed and isolated workplaces in construction, oil rigs and factories. L&T Technology is engaging global customers for this solution.

“Our DNA of engineering is being merged with the technology and we’ve come out with a solution. This can have wide applications,” said Keshab Panda, managing director.

Photograph: Reuters

Ayan Pramanik in Bengaluru
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