The Acceleration of India's AI Journey in 2020

Sidharth Mukherjee, Managing Director - Knowledge Services, TeleperformanceSidharth Mukherjee, Managing Director of Knowledge Services, Teleperformance, comments on how 2020 will witness a surge in demand for Artificial Intelligence (AI)and related Digital Transformation Services, and how India can keep pace with innovation.

Artificial Intelligence(AI)has emerged as one of the most critical components of every digital transformation initiative, providing businesses endless opportunities to streamline their services and deepen customer interactions. As global spending on AI is forecast to more than double to USD 79.2 billion by 2022, the momentum of digital technology is not expected to slow down anytime soon. India, in particular, has enormous potential yet to be unlocked, with AI capabilities set to double the country's rate of industrial innovation and employee productivity by 2021. In light of this, sourcing of business transformation services is key for Indian companies if they have to future proof themselves and compete in the age of hyper automation.

AI is Booming
According to Gartner, AI and Machine Learning (ML) have been identified by Indian CIOs as the top game changing technologies, closely followed by Data Analytics. By harvesting and analysing huge amounts of data, AI mimics the cognitive capabilities of humans, giving businesses invaluable insights. There is no doubt that these advances are revolutionizing business processes globally, but even now this technology remains one of the most complex to monitor, regulate, and control. Firms may own a wealth of data, but not knowing how to use it makes it practically worthless. In a post-AI world, the success of enterprises now depends on their efforts to prepare their internal and external resources for disruption.

Disruption of Marketplaces
Several businesses today are disruptors within rapidly evolving market places, while others are being disrupted. Greater proliferation of
technology hasled to a more digitally savvy consumer demographic, meaning companies must deliver greater satisfaction to maintain the same level of loyalty compared to previous years. The explosion of
online outreach opportunities adds another obstacle to the competitive ladder. Organizations, therefore, have no choice but to make major changes to their business models if they are to battle for market share and competitive edge.

More and more companies are responding to these pressures by integrating AI capabilities in their environment, while balancing High Tech with High Touch to produce a holistic Digital Customer Experience(DCX). Implementing the right balance of Technology, Analytics and Process Excellence(TAP) to gain a deeper understanding of consumer requirements and interests is the key to making them feel important and achieving great satisfaction.

By deploying speech and other forms of interaction analytics, businesses can deepen their understanding of customer sentiment

Driving Real Time Customer Interactions
Studies show that more Gen Y and Z customers are embracing chat as their preferred medium of contacting businesses all over the world, and this component of AI is expected to continue attracting major investment in 2020. Due to the connected nature of chat, it is essential that companies have the right processes in place for each unique business case, and interactions are quickly addressed and managed. If customers are unable to easily speak to companies to get fast solutions, brand reputations can easily be damaged. With trust on the line, comes wavering customer satisfaction, therefore businesses should regard chat services as a direct tool in taking care of customers' emotions.

More Tailored Services
For more complex online queries however, customers want that in person experience so they feel reassured. The concept of "customer for life"is almost completely out of reach, as customer churn across industries is ever increasing. As they become more accustomed to the choices available to them, standardized experiences will not maintain the same level of loyalty as in previous years. That is why, within this hyper connected world, it is critical that brands do not underestimate the emotional intelligence that comes with human-to-human communication. By deploying speech and other forms of interaction analytics, businesses can deepen their understanding of customer sentiment and take corrective action in realtime, as each interaction matters.

Moving Forward in 2020
Although it might not seem so, AI is still relatively in its infancy, with infinite possibilities for businesses to drive growth by leveraging AI, in the years ahead. 2020 is set to be a defining year that will reveal which companies are front-runners at leveraging AI to embark on a future proof digital transformation. In order for companies to meet the growing demand for AI skills, they must combine their internal investments by also leveraging the right knowledge partners firms that offercapabilities cutting across customer experience design, advanced analytics and cognitive automation. As both the disruptors and disrupted lock horns, the businesses that will survive in the long run will need to be simpler, faster, safer and more cost effective.