Puneet Gupta | Co-Founder & Global CTO | CoantumLeap advises about the digital paradigm once organizations embark on the path of automation.
What are the solutions and services offered in the CoantumLeap portfolio?
This company exclusively focuses on industries which have a very strong consumer touch point. Financial services, for example, is a critical industry and we typically work around the philosophy of using latest tech to solve problems that are waiting to be solved. We will typically work with the C- suite financial services organization, look at the key problems that are impacting their top line and t bottom line, start with the consulting engagement and then bring to bear the best that AI, data, analytics, cloud, and the light technology sector offers.
What is the operating business model of CoantumLeap and how all does technology drive this business?
One thing we were very clear when we started this organization is that while there is a great consulting system integration in technology services industry, it still seems to be very focused on the cost of technology. I will get this job done for you and here is the cost.
The operating model of CoantumLeap is very clear. We want our returns to be linked intimately to the ultimate business returns of the stakeholders that we are working for. So we predominantly work in an outcome-based model. For example, if you are working with the bank and leveraging automation and AI to increase the speed of user on-boarding, we will price it in such a way that the business pays us when they see the impact of our technology impacting the rate at which they are able to acquire customers.
What are the key technology solutions used by CoantumLeap and what are their use cases?
Let me give you an example of financial services, because we feel that this is an industry which is greatly getting disrupted. So at one end of the spectrum, you have large banks who are trying to sort of figure out how to engage this. They are spending not just millions, billions of dollars in adopting technology, but still the end consumers do not feel that as tech savvy businesses. So we are focusing on key problems like customer acquisition, creating higher velocity and better experience of user on-boarding.For example, can a bank user or a new customer, download a bank application and the account is created just like you download a Facebook app and you can start social communication?
How do we use AI and data analytics model in making alternate lending decisions beyond your credit score?
What are the other ways I can understand the user and then create specific products for them? How can we use AI and data analytics technology to create newer ways to deal with the risks? How can we create automated chatbot based solutions where customers can serve themselves talking to an intelligent agent, could provides the same level of sophistication of conversation like a human being will do. It has problems such as these that we are trying to solve.
Which are some of the verticals you have seen maximum traction?
Any industry vertical, which has very strong, direct consumer touch point throughout the life cycle from product discovery to sales, to actually product delivery to after service, etc, are the kind of industries which are important. So retail, healthcare, financial services are some of these industries. Within these, given that the founding team and some of the key management of this team have experience in the financial services area, right now predominant exposure of this company is to work with a financial services company. Both of those the FinTech companies in helping them take their ideas to market faster, as well as traditional organizations who want to establish FinTech kind of characteristics.
What are your roles and responsibilities as the Global CTO of CoantumLeap?
Building the organization, expanding the technology architecture roadmap, looking at acquiring new companies who can sort of help rapidly build our capabilities are some of the things that I do on a daily basis.
How are digital technologies helping CoantumLeap to tide over the current COVID19 crisis?
Like any industry, we were worried about the impact that this will have. But I think the, the blessing in disguise, if I may, apart from the huge pain is that the world is realizing that, it is not going to go away and therefore those people who were shy of adopting digital in an aggressive manner, are being forced to do that. So for a company like us, it has been a crazy last couple of months. There is a barragen of demand, lot of senior stakeholders working with us trying to figure out how they can accelerate what should have been done in the last three years, in these three months.So the team has been, very busy and we ourselves, since we were born in digital divide, if I may, from the very beginning have been very clear that we should be able to have the best talent, work from wherever they are and built-in the best of tools and processes. Therefore thinking ideation, building up solutions, interacting with clients, serving them is not a challenge.
We are Finding a lot of other opportunities. Obviously I would have loved in many, many cases for the people to get together and do things. That is something that you can never take away. But I think technology is sophisticated enough where if you define your problem, if you have an open mind about it, digital can really help us.
Having been CTO/CDO of leading IT services companies like GlobalLogic and ITC Infotech, what are the key issues in shaping digital strategies for organizations?
At an intellectual level, there is awareness that digital is good and nobody argues about that. But the challenge is on three fronts.
One is legacy: You have built the organization over the last 20-30 years, you have invested in technology and you always worry about changing because there is a big legacy that you need to go.
Second is I think culture and attitude: Most of the decision makers, unfortunately are people who are in their forties and fifties and their way of looking at the digital world is very different from what an average employee or the broader persona out there do that. So there is this resistance to change because you do not feel it is so important because it is not impacting your personal life. Although these days, even retired people are sort of getting more digital and tech savvy.
Third is really the aggressiveness that is required to link a problem to the right solution.
If legacy, attitude and the awareness about the art of the possible can be solved, the adoption of digital can be much faster.
How is the IT team structured at CoantumLeap? How do they ensure complete synergy with other business function teams?
We have kept it very simple. Almost everything that we do is either being done in a SaaS model, which is complete cloud based service or predominantly infrastructure managed in cloud.So the typical challenge which is about offices and the local technology and connectivity is not there. Whether you are sitting in your office or you are sitting at home, every employee of CoantumLeap is dealing with the same technology and there is absolutely no difference.
The model is about productivity, efficiency, and enablement. So, if you had to do your job, the culture of the organization is to make sure how do you bring the best of technology from basic communication infrastructure to enabling the built-in infrastructure, to remote help desk and support and everything so that we can optimize on every minute and every hour of how the user is doing and having given the flexibility, we then trust our teams.
Obviously there are security to technologies and other monitoring solutions that are important from a compliance perspective, but our methodology is very simple. The responsibility of the IT organization is to make sure that not even one minute of productive time goes unproductive because there is issue with the fundamental infrastructure.
What is the functioning of the AI bot Polynomial especially with regards to COVID19 information?
Polynomial AI, which is trying to make use of cutting edge AI neural network based natural language processing is really trying to solve this problem.Coco is a brand of an agent that only Polynomial has available in chat with you or speak with you.It should really be difficult for you to figure out whether you are talking to a human being or a machine, but obviously Coco does not sleep.It can work 24/7, can never get tired. It does not have the emotional issues, constantly reading information.
So one of the things that we created was a persona of Coco and trained it to absorb every official information that is coming about Corona disease and made it available over Facebook Messenger. Anybody can go to Coco and the messenger and ask a question and you do not have to go to thousands of different sources. Just ask the question, the way you will ask an expert and it will give you precise answer the way you want it.
How do you advise Indian organizations about the key milestones in their digital transformation journey?
What is very important in my opinion is that the adoption of digital must start from the C level. You cannot relegate digital responsibilities to the IT teams. The CEO/CFO/CMO must be clear as to how I can use digital to change the way my organization designs product, interacts with customers, sells to them, services them. And once you are clear about the problem statement, you should then be open to experimentation.
There is so much of technology out there. Not everything is going to work. So you have to change the old paradigm of drawing up big programs, think incremental, Think about the pilot, quickly do it, let it fail fast if it has to fail fast, and move on. And if it works, then put all your organization and energy to move forward.
So you need organizations who are smartly thinking about how, what are the critical problems, if solved, can change and then work with right partners. Do not think about finding the lowest cost of getting the software done. Think about how you can use the latest and greatest technology, experiments,. If it fails then move on. If it succeeds, put your mind behind it.