Brian Thomas (Host of Digital Executive Podcast): Well good afternoon Jay, welcome to the show.
Jay Venkateswaran (Business Unit Head of Banking & Financial Services, and Consulting & Professional Services, WNS Global Services): Thank you so much Brian. I look forward to today’s conversation.
Brian: Absolutely. And I appreciate you jumping on. I know that a lot of times to get schedules coordinated to different executives from around the globe, sometimes it can be challenging. But I am glad that we were able to get on the show and get some great questions and conversations going for our audience today. So, jumping into the questions Jay, you have got quite the crew in technology, in Fintech as a leader and now you are the Business Unit Head Financial Services and Technology at WNS Global Services. Could you share with our audience the secret to your career growth and what inspires you?
Jay: Thanks Brian. That is a great question. I think you know if I look back on my career, the most notable feature has been my ability to be flexible and nimble, and really kind of shine where the company needs you to shine at that moment. And that can change from period to period depending on where your company needs you at that point, with what stage of its life cycle is that, so on and so forth. So, I think the most important thing is to be nimble. And to recognize where you are needed, where the opportunity is and where you can really move the needle. And you get there through a very sharp focus on clients and taking their perspective. Especially in the technology and tech services space, you want to always have the clients’ perspective in your periphery. The minute you lose that you are in trouble. So that is something that I hold on to.
Brian: Great. I appreciate the share Jay, and you are absolutely right. You know when you are leading a large unit, department or company, you have got to be listening to your customers. And I think that that will certainly resonate with a lot of our audience. So, Jay let’s talking banking. Can you explain some ways traditional banks can approve customer call centers and direct customer service through artificial intelligence?
Jay: Sure. That’s a great question Brian. I think you know the whole space of AI has been very unevenly used across the banking ecosystem. I think the most powerful way when you think about your customer experience is to think about how to leverage AI to be proactive in your messaging, in your communication with your customers. That is where I think a lot of financial services companies struggle with what sort of messaging is welcome and what is not so welcome anymore right? And the more you use AI to tailor a message for a specific customer, the more powerful it is. So, for example in areas like managing your debt whether be it a home loan, a mortgage or a personal loan or an auto loan or a student loan, all of us get millions – you know thousands of student loan refi calls, right? Many of us who don’t have a student loan that is just so annoying when you get those calls. Instead, if you use AI to really mine your customer database, understand what a customer A, B and C need in their lives, think about okay fine this person has a mortgage at a 3%, the rates have dropped, can I proactively offer a refi, which can benefit that customer. That is the sort of thing that builds loyalty. That is the sort of thing that customers like to hear about. They like to hear about proactive news on their credit scores or managing their credit card debt. They like to be helped with things like tracking their savings goals, their spend patterns, etc. They like to be called on to identify opportunities to reduce banking fees or eliminate duplicate products or services. The opposite of some of the stories we have seen in the news over the last several years. So, the more you tailor the message to that customer’s need, the more effective the cross-sell and upsell strategies are. And with that comes a significant level of efficiency and lower costs of enlarging your wallet share with that customer. So, it is all about tailoring your message to that customer’s need. And that is where I think AI can be really powerful.
Brian: I totally agree with you on that point Jay. We have to start looking at digging into more of this data. There is a plethora of it and we are going to need machines to help us get to the goal that we need to, as you said, customize the message depending on the type of customer or who the customer is. So, I appreciate the share on that. And Jay are you leveraging any new emerging technologies within your tech stack? If not, is there any cool tool or app that you might have found useful?
Jay: Let me talk about one of each Brian. I think the one core piece of technology that we are very excited about here at WNS is the whole emerging area of hyperautomation. There are these emerging hyperautomation tools and platforms that are very, very powerful. What they basically do is create a consolidated approach towards a number of things that we have all experimented with over the last 5 to 10 years. They first take a low-code / no code approach so that it is easy to interface with these platforms and create a piece of automation. But they don’t stop there. What they also do really well is they combine various aspects of technology that we have experienced over the last five years, including AI and ML. They are very good at managing big data and data processing activities. They leverage the core concepts of robotic process automation and increasingly they are starting to leverage the concept of blockchain technology as well. They bring all of these technologies together and help you create apps and solutions that can be used across multiple channels. So, you know just think about that for a minute. The amount of effort we have all spent trying to automate bits and pieces of our processes and systems, and customer experience, using each of these components independently. We have all seen hundreds of AI and ML projects. We have seen separate big data projects. We have seen a huge investment in RPA over the last 10 years. And we are seeing an emerging interesting in blockchain. But when a platform can pull all of those components together, and help you leverage those across multiple channels of client interaction or customer interaction – that becomes really powerful. That is the reason we are so excited about what hyper automation can do for banks in the future. Now looking ahead, this is today. Hyperautomation is available today. We are starting to work with many of our customers, our clients on hyperautomation platforms. But looking a little bit ahead into the future, we are very excited about the prospects of blockchain. Blockchain technology has been in various stages of development over the last four or five years. But I think now we are starting to see real use cases, particularly in banking and financial services. I think that’s the one industry which is most suited to leverage blockchain technology, particularly in areas which tend to be expensive and inefficient. For example, moving money across borders. That process is incredibly expensive right now. People pay anywhere between 4-5% and 10-11% depending on whether you are a retail customer or whether you are a small and medium enterprise. So, the cost is very, very high to move your own money around the world just to pay a bill or to buy something that is not available in your country. Or to transfer money for a personal to a family member who lives somewhere else. If you can do that through block chain technology what currently takes 3 days can be done in 3 seconds. And what costs anywhere between 5 and 6 and 10-11% could come down to 1%. Right? So, I think that is the one area which I think can be truly transformational in the financial services world. We are following that very, very closely, and I spend a lot of my time reading up on what is going on, which companies are innovating, what companies like Ripple and Circle and others are doing in this space, how banks as well as FinTechs are starting to either work with these kind of innovators or you know find their own sweet spot and innovate in house. There is – this is going to change financial services for the better. That is for sure. The exact use cases will emerge over the next few years but we are a strong believer that cross-border payment is one of probably the first areas that will benefit from blockchain technology.
Brian: You are absolutely right and blockchain has been actually applied across many verticals in industries today from supply chain and supply chain automation and food sourcing, that sort of thing. But you are absolutely right. I think blockchain right now is one of the most I would say promising technologies that can be applied to really move mankind forward and absolutely bring that bottom billion out of poverty. So, I appreciate the share on that Jay. I really do. And Jay let’s talk a little bit about your career. Wrapping up here can you share something from your career experience that would be helpful for those looking to grow their career in technology or leadership?
Jay: Thanks for that Brian. I think again if I look back on my career, the most important aspect for anyone to really think about is you find something that you are passionate about in your ecosystem, there is always something there. The more you read, the more you are aware of what goes on around your own company as well as emerging companies in your space, your clients, your suppliers, the entire world that you are exposed to. I am a very avid reader especially of these sorts of trends and you know what other companies are doing, what innovators are doing because that really gets me inspired. That gets me to think a little bit differently about what problems I want to address, how I can help my company or my clients address a problem a little bit differently. I think the most important thing is to try and address something that is important to your ecosystem. And try and address it in a way that hasn’t necessarily been addressed before. Try and do something new. Try and do something different. And invariably those efforts pay off. You may not always get the results but you try it 4 or 5, 6 times and you know one of them will pay off and that effort will really stand out. Those are the sort of thing that really help you move your career forward. You know 80-90% of the business that we all do is run of the mill routine stuff. That doesn’t move the needle for anybody. So always be on the lookout for how you can move the needle for your company, for your clients, for your people, for your partners. And the minute you start to move the needle substantially, especially through a new route that hasn’t been followed in the past, that is when things really take off. And that can be really powerful for you as well as your ecosystem.
Brian: Jay that is awesome. I appreciate the share. Certainly, absolutely things happen with growth obviously. So, I appreciate those insights. I know those are going to be real gems for our audience. And Jay it was a pleasure having you on today and I look forward to speaking with you real soon.
Note: The podcast was originally published on coruzant.com.