The best stories don’t always appeal to logic, but they often connect with us on an emotional level. Ditto for the story of Sumanta Basu’s remarkable evolution from a passionate cacti gardener to a trusted advisor to C-level executives as Practice Head of Intelligent Process Automation at Wipro Limited, a global information technology, consulting and business process services company with more than 220,000 employees.
“I love gardening,” says Sumanta. “I’ve been cultivating cacti since grade school. I learned how to graft cacti and succulents to create new kinds of flowering hybrids. As a technologist, that’s like using hyperautomation to reinvent business processes that deliver new outcomes.”
But enough talk about propagating cacti. It’s time to dig into some expert commentary on hyperautomation, sustainability and low-code innovation, courtesy of Wipro technologist Sumanta Basu.
You’ve talked about the parallels you see in hyper-automation and gardening. But I wonder if you would talk about hyperautomation in the context of keeping up with customer expectations.
It’s hard to solve customer problems with a single technology or platform. But we’ve helped enterprises hyperautomate everything from process orchestration and regulatory compliance to supply-chain automation and customer onboarding with low-code solutions.
Can you give some examples of that?
Using a low-code approach, we’ve helped enterprises create more efficient, paperless onboarding processes with artificial intelligence (AI), optical character recognition and other cloud services. That's what we do with the Appian platform.
First, we evaluate the use case or problem. Then we add edge technology like AI, machine learning (ML) and cloud services on top of the platform to create a complete purpose-built solution such as self-service customer onboarding.
This is a paperless process that allows customers to digitally submit documents. The documents are verified in real-time. Forms are auto-generated, auto-filled with data from the documents, and made available for digital signature. We also use Appian to automate back-office tasks, background checks, and fraud-detection. This information is checked, approved, and submitted to downstream systems where Subsequent customer interactions are handled by intelligent conversational BOTs.
(For a deeper dive into Wipro hyperautomation use cases, check out this link.)
Let’s switch gears and talk about the evolution of Wipro. Wipro has been around for decades and is now a multi-billion-dollar global organization. How did you enter into the world of hyper-automation and low-code solutions?
As a technology service provider, we began by supporting everything from mainframes to client-server problems. But as our clients’ needs shifted, we pivoted to working with enterprise systems and helping clients develop cloud-native applications and shift from on-premises software and custom development to low-code and cloud applications.
So, looking over the horizon, what are the biggest trends on your radar for the upcoming decade?
The mainstreaming of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and low-code will be major factors, but we are still in the early stages of these technologies. They’re already impacting every application and solution we’re developing for clients.
Companies are already leveraging the cloud to drive business outcomes. But we expect this trend to grow as enterprises combine the cloud with AI. We’re also on the verge of an explosion of big data, the internet of things (IoT) and smart devices in the healthcare, manufacturing and service industry sectors.
Data from IoT devices will play a major role in the future of digital transformation and hyperautomation. I also expect to see more adoption of AI-enabled use cases that will allow banks and other businesses to do a better job of detecting fraud and fake documentation in the customer-onboarding process.
What are some other hot trends you’re tracking at Wipro?
Another trend we’re tracking is the transformation of the customer experience. Today, you can talk to voice activated digital assistants, you can shop online based on personalized recommendations, and you can see and track products you’ve ordered. Hyperautomation will allow us to create more experience-based applications with augmented reality technology. We’re already beginning to see early versions of this with online retailers. This is part of the evolution of IoT, which also feeds into future solutions built with low-code technology.
Even though COVID accelerated adoption of hyperautomation, many companies are only doing process automation in small pilot projects. I came across a study reporting that only 58% of companies surveyed had incorporated AI into at least one of their processes or products. And most of the survey respondents planned to increase their AI investment by just 10% over the next three years. What do you make of that?
Yes, many companies will create five bots and test them, but never scale them to impact the customer experience across the entire enterprise. These companies tend to take a disjointed approach. But if you want to scale automation, it’s essential to understand that automation isn’t just about implementing bots and robotic process automation (RPA). You also have to manage and orchestrate the bots and, more importantly, reinvent the business processes that interact with them.
Businesses are still only scratching the surface of AI-driven process automation. Organizations like Wipro have to show customers the big-picture, the competitive advantages of end-to-end process transformation.
Finally, let’s talk about sustainability and Wipro’s commitment to it. Sustainability is trending in the tech community, as investors get more serious about using environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria to drive investment strategies. Talk about Wipro’s commitment to sustainability, net-zero carbon emissions, and how it all fits into the hyperautomation story?
When it comes to climate change and environmental sustainability, the world is at the crossroads. But Wipro has been a sustainability leader for decades.
We believe our business goals should be aligned with doing what’s right for the environment, as well as society. That’s what our customers and investors expect.
With decades of experience as a sustainability leader, Wipro helps companies identify ways to reduce waste, preserve resources, and minimize their overall carbon footprint. We’ve also supported global efforts to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030 and get that number down to zero by 2040.
We signed on as a founding member of the Transform to Net Zero coalition and committed to the Paris Agreement target of net zero emissions by 2040 . We believe sustainability is a transformational movement. And Wipro intends to be an active leader in it.