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Preparing For A ‘Digital-Only’ Era

The Managing Director of Newgen Software, Diwakar Nigam, reflects on the technologies that are picking up pace as workplace undergoes significant changes

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As tech adoption accelerates, what are changes in consumer behaviour that you believe are here to stay?
We are seeing accelerated technology adoption since April this year. Newgen was founded with the vision of ‘One World, One Workplace’ and the aim of enabling digital transformation in organizations around the world. 

The value of digitisation was not only realised by employees who got seamlessly shifted to the work-from-home environment but also by customers who were able to get the same quality of services without meeting in person. 

The world has realised that pandemic or not, the show must go on. After the initial panic subsided, customers realised that many transactions can be conducted remotely without physical meetings or visiting a location. In essence, customers just want more proactive and consistent communication with faster resolution of queries for their peace of mind. 

Another major behavioural change witnessed during this period is the customers’ apprehension in doing paper-based transactions. This has triggered regulatory changes in some regions leading to innovations like audio and video KYC for processes like digital account opening.

Touchless, paperless, and contactless have become the popular buzzwords of this new world, making digital a necessity and not an option. 

What were some changes that you were seeing in businesses to cater to these changes? 
The current scenario has made it imperative for every enterprise, new and existing ones, to adopt digital, enable process automation and remote connectivity for employees with secure access to relevant information and documents. The work from home situation has encouraged organisations to stay more connected with employees and devise strategies to keep them engaged and motivated. Virtual meetings, townhalls and online team building games have become the norm.

Organisations have responded fast to the changing business needs by adopting innovative technologies and accelerating their digital initiatives to stay connected and competitive in this physically disconnected world.

While cloud as technology had already gained importance, after COVID-19, it has become a norm due to the lower cost of ownership and anytime-anywhere access. Organisations have also increased their reliance on technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to increase their operational efficiency and drive more informed decision-making. 

How do you see these making an impact on the long-term for businesses?
From our recent experience in the US market, we observed when the government had announced the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to help small businesses adversely affected by the pandemic,  financial institutions had to adapt quickly and adopt digital to efficiently process loans to their customers. During this period, we learned that technology decisions are business strategic and need attention of all the senior executives including CEOs and CFOs, not just CIOs and CTOs. Enterprises need to assess business gaps, identify their technology needs, and respond to the dynamic business needs and customer expectations by implementing the right technology.

Going forward, organisations will accelerate the shift towards a cloud-based, low code platform-based digital automation model as it will help in rapid development and deployment of applications, omnichannel customer engagement, intelligent automation using AI, ML, and  robotic process automation (RPA) and contextual flow of information throughout the organisation.

How about the post-COVID phase – what are some of the business traits that will emerge?
COVID has made enterprises realise that the core fundamentals of business remain unchanged. Organisations that follow some core tenets can expect to emerge stronger in the post-COVID phase. These include cost-effective operations. It also needs the ability to serve and delight customers while operating from a remote environment to enhance customer loyalty and longevity.

The adoption of modern technologies to enable a seamless work-from-home paradigm and cloud-based deployment capabilities for anytime, anywhere, and secure operations are also part of this.

The sensitivity and responsibility towards the needs of the community and an employee-first culture that looks after their holistic well being will also become core to a business’ post-COVID play.

What are your three predictions of the changes the industry will see, which will necessitate timely embracing of technology?
The industry will see the emergence of following trends in the new, digital-only era. 

Distributed yet connected operations: Organisations will need to enable remote, distributed, yet connected operations. With a low code digital automation platform, organisations will be able to create a connected enterprise where everyone (customers, workforce, partners) transact and engage in an orchestrated manner; anytime, anywhere and through any communication channel including social, chat, email, and online.

Unified frontend and backend: A digital automation platform will continue to provide intelligence, automation and the context in the backend whereas frontend will be enabled by office productivity tools, thereby improving overall efficiency and effectiveness.

Hyperautomation for speed and experience: Customer experience continues to be a top priority for every enterprise. To deliver a superior customer experience, organisations need to automate processes, empower employees, and respond to dynamic business environment with speed and agility. In short, what enterprises need is hyperautomation---the combination of RPA (task automation), BPM (contextual process automation), and machine-learning intelligence to stay current and competitive.


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