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Satish H.C. Executive Vice President, Data & Analytics at Infosys – Interview Series

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Satish is an executive vice president and global head of Infosys’ data & analytics service portfolio.

Could you share with us what Infosys does?

Infosys is a global leader in next-generation digital services and consulting. We enable clients in 46 countries to navigate their digital transformation. With over three decades of experience in managing the systems and workings of global enterprises, we expertly steer our clients through their digital journey. We do it by enabling the enterprise with an AI-powered core that helps prioritize the execution of change. We also empower the business with agile digital at scale to deliver unprecedented levels of performance and customer delight. Our always-on learning agenda drives their continuous improvement through building and transferring digital skills, expertise, and ideas from our innovation ecosystem.

You’re currently the Business Head of Data & Analytics at Infosys. What does this role involve and what does your day to day look like?

I have been with Infosys for 25+ years. In my current role, primary responsibility is Head of Business for Data & Analytics and Digital portfolios at Infosys. The role entails defining a strategic vision for being a key and relevant global partner for our clients with a strong reputation in the market backed by capability, capacity and great execution.

The pandemic crisis gave us some focus time to take a step back and relook at our business and understand our clients’ needs of today and tomorrow. It’s evident that most Enterprises will accelerate their digital transformation journey along with the adaptive changes to deal with the aftermath of the business disruption. Having got a good understanding of the context, we have revitalized our strategic plans for our business and our client delivery teams. A typical day is a blend of reviewing progress on strategic themes, agility to meet business and client needs and continuing to be in touch with our ecosystem – our clients, partners and our teams. You take care of people and people will take care of business.

How did you personally become interested in data science?

I have been fascinated with the power of Data and its evolution from Reports to BI to AI to powering the future of Enterprises, Ecosystems, Economies and Societies. Being aware of the power of data and the art of the possible, it’s no surprise that this is one of the most sought after Roles in the industry with its power to make a difference. When I got an opportunity to shift gears at Infosys, I grabbed the opportunity!

Can you discuss how poor data analytics operations have contributed to the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic?

COVID-19 is bringing disruptions in unprecedented ways around the globe and across all industry segments. Enterprises realized their inability to respond in real time to mitigate losses arising out of demand, supply disruptions, preserve working capital, provide high-quality service to clients and monetize new opportunities to grow

  • The retail industry was one of the worst impacted industry segments with many players facing a steep decline in revenue in the short team and slower recovery in the long term. Social distancing is leading to new consumer behavior and preferences.
  • For the manufacturing industry, supply chain is affected the most with disruptions in the areas of supply, logistics, operations, and inventory.
  • For the Telco industry with people working from homes, network capacity and performance is being hit the hardest due to surge in demand. There has been demand for offerings that will enable remote working, seamless connectivity and platforms to collaborate. Also lack of data security has made enterprises vulnerable to risks.

A strong Data capability has a positive reinforcement on digital evolution of an Enterprise as they become Data native, Digital native. A sound data & analytics strategy can help address typical challenges faced by Enterprises during the pandemic crisis in real-time, ensure enterprise agility to adapt and respond to changes in the market, de-risk business models, draw enterprise/sector level intelligence to drive data-led decisions & thus enable resilience for Enterprise and Economy.

What are your views on federated learning for data collection?

There is a big potential in connecting the unconnected data within the realm of an Enterprise or its ecosystem. However, data needs to be harvested within the guardrails of regulation and privacy while dealing with the inevitable boundaries around data.

There is potential in leveraging federated learning in the below ways:

  • When data belongs to multiple entities e.g. different banks, who may be unwilling to let their data out, but are willing to cooperate to have models trained for issues plagued by data scarcity e.g. fraud detection.
  • When data belongs to the same corporate entity, but is restricted by data movement across geographical boundaries – typical of multinational companies. The extreme example of this applies to data sources like store surveillance camera data where the data stream may not be allowed to even leave the precincts of the store.
  • When data belongs to specific individuals, and they agree to share their data to build models for a common cause without the data leaving their personal devices which may be mobile phones or tablets.

What are some of the data analytics solutions that are offered by Infosys?

Enterprises are navigating their digital transformation powered by data across 3 horizons.

In Horizon 1, we help enterprises become data driven to make better decisions and monetize data. This horizon is all about Business Intelligence & Analytics.

With the growing adoption of digital, the data footprint is also growing enormously. The confluence of data and digital is enabling enterprises to Innovate, Transform and Re-imagine their business. Horizon 2 is all about becoming Data Native, Digital Native Live Enterprise to compete with digital born companies and respond to change signals in real-time. This horizon is all about Big Data Analytics, Digital, Cloud and AI.

Horizon 3 is about powering a larger data powered economy built on connected ecosystems and innovating to disrupt traditional industry boundaries. As this continuum evolves the Digital Economy is leading to a Data Economy. Data is the new capital pivoting the next generation disruption of industry structure, transformation of Economy and Society. This horizon is powered by a confluence of technologies like IOT, AI, Blockchain, 5G, Edge computing, XR to name a few.

Our strategy is powered by a rich suite of solutions that accelerates the digital transformation journey: To name a few;

Infosys Information Grid: A metadata driven platform for data management that leverages all BI Technologies on premise & on-cloud.

Infosys Analytics Workbench: Enables self-service analytics.

Infosys Genome Solution: Enables predictive & prescriptive analytics to get personal or behavior-based insights about customers.

Infosys Vision Analytics Solution: Leverages latest advances in AI & computer vision and GPU’s to crunch several streams of video data in real-time.

Digital Brain: A system of foresight that orchestrates intelligent behavior with the help of a Knowledge graph & Cognitive services.

Sentient Marketing: Enable Enterprises to realize sentient marketing ecosystem that sense, respond and activate intelligence to deliver ”Hyper” Personalization, Social & Digital Marketing, connected phygital experience with marketing effectiveness  and Media spend optimization across Traditional and Digital channels.

Sentient Supply chain: High customer expectations and ever-expanding markets/channels/product portfolios require enterprises to adapt to fast changing scenarios with sentient supply chain solutions leveraging ML to exploit underlying patterns in data better than traditional business rules.

How much of an improvement in efficiency and performance have you seen from companies that have implemented some of these data solutions that are offered by Infosys?

Here are a few examples of how we have helped client to do more with their data.

For a marquee consumer tech enterprise, we deliver insights to key business functions like Marketing, Fraud detection, Operations, Sales, Retail and Products. We have modernized their data landscape over more than a decade from Oracle based EDMs to Teradata powered EDW to Hybrid Big data landscape to polycloud architecture augmented with AI Labs Ecosystem for Enterprise AI adoption and providing elasticity during new product launches.

We are helping a CPG major unleash significant value for their Brand Management & Marketing teams by realizing data powered Marketing Brain as a Service to Empower Marketer(s) with actionable Insights from experiments and connected consumer experience leveraging enterprise data, Digital, Clickstream, Social data, POS Consumption (from retailers) and media data sourced from external agencies. This is helping their brand marketers to get real-time understanding of marketing channels performance against sales, consumers engagement to their advertising to drive growth along with optimizing marketing spend.

For a global CPG company’s personal care brands, we helped identify right Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) to partner, who had followers closely aligned to the brand’s target market based on geography, demography, interests and alignment with brand and its campaign’s objectives. By using a combination of best-in-class influencer analytics tool and our own ML text classification models to identify follower perception of the KOL, we eliminated wasted reach by 54% and optimized KOL dollars spent.

For a Global Pharma Major, sales and marketing was looking to accelerate new data on boarding for new brand launch for rare disease drugs.  We delivered data discovery zone setup, HCO/HCP transformation, optimized data processing for their Oncology, Cardiology, Women’s health and Radiology units. This has enabled multi-channel marketing, improved sales across channels, faster time to market for new brands and rich insights on patient outcomes.

We have been helping clients to enable business resilience with Data & Insights in COVID times:

A CPG Major, was looking for a demand driven forecasting model, to navigate through the crisis. We implemented the Infosys Real-time Demand Sensing Solution, enabling client to analyze demand signals associated with sales for the specific brand, consumption, price, and socio-economic factors. The solution helped the client factor in massive spike in demand resulting from panic buying of essentials. Data from sales, supply chain inventory, out of stock, and store inventory was analyzed to provide real-time insights for required course correction, help minimize out of stock and optimize the supply chain. The solution helped direct sensing from POS data that enabled decision making in hours instead of days or weeks. This helped the client improve forecasting with up to 85% accuracy and led to uptick in sales by 2%.

An American clothing company was looking for a solution to manage & drive sales more effectively in this volatile demand scenario during COVID-19 crisis. We developed a comparative view of the current COVID-19 situation, its potential impact and outcome, based on previous high impact scenarios like financial crisis, natural calamities etc. to enable the CFO to assess overall impact and plan further action. We developed a solution that helped front line store employees to access vital insights ‘on the go’ through mobile applications. This has helped ensure effective engagement with their customers and to drive accurate and faster business decisions. The Unified Retail Semantics solution provides vital insights on key KPIs, detailed information and visualization on sales potential, breakdown by segment/category, best and worst sellers, quick comparison with other stores and by district etc.

For banking client, we are creating insights and predictions around customer behaviour for Collections and Recovery, manage Credit risks; Moving customers towards Digital Channels by analyzing transaction behaviour across channels, product lines, channel attrition rate and devise correction action; NBA/NBO for the customer by tracking financial health, inflow, outflow, customer 360, CLTV.

How can enterprises use these solutions to better leverage AI/ML to drive momentum in their businesses?

Our AI & ML capabilities helps enterprises drive Efficiency, Experiences & New Revenues Streams. Here are some examples of how are helping enterprises drive momentum.

A global leader in medical device manufacturing, planned to expand its offerings from being a medical device provider for diabetes, to a holistic diabetes services & solutions provider by leveraging insights from the rich set of diabetes data. The company intended to enable Connected Care services by getting into the partnerships with various players to provide the variety of diabetes related data, integrated it and provide the meaningful insights. We implemented an integrated modern data analytics platform that integrates the variety of data sourced from multiple sources and generate meaningful insights, which can be acted upon by patients, doctors, medical staff, and other players of the ecosystem. We developed predictive models to provide early warning of catastrophic medical events, and personalized insights by uncovering behaviors associated with glucose patterns.

Digital technologies have the potential to solve some of the hardest problems of our times. These could be around developing the economy, improving lives of common citizens, or solving global environmental challenges. Here is an example of how we used data for good, data to drive social transformation & societal change. We partnered with a NGO to enable easy access to primary health care for a South African country. Accessibility to healthcare has been a huge challenge for the people of this country where most of the population lives kilometers away from a health facility. This severely hampered their access to essential health care services. To counter this the government wanted to build new health posts. The goal was to locate these new health posts strategically to ensure that 95 percent of the population had access to health centers within a few kilometers. We partnered with the NGO to determine the optimum locations of these health posts such that they are accessible to maximum number of people. There were two key parts to solving this problem, computing the population dynamics and optimizing the location of health posts to maximize accessibility. We used world population data, geo-spatial patterns to understand migration patterns and AI models to discover mobile user density and mobile user migration patterns from anonymized mobile network operator (MNO) data.

Is there anything else that you would like to share about Infosys?

As we look ahead, the new imperatives for Infosys relevance is changing:

  1. From problem solving to framing the right problems to solve and walk this journey together with our clients.
  2. Deal with the reality of “decades happening in weeks” through our accelerators/solutions and our ecosystem collaboration with partners to deliver time to market advantage for our clients.

Thank you for the detailed answers, readers who wish to learn more should visit Infosys.

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Antoine Tardif is a Futurist who is passionate about the future of AI and robotics. He is the CEO of BlockVentures.com, and has invested in over 50 AI & blockchain projects. He is the Co-Founder of Securities.io a news website focusing on digital securities, and is a founding partner of unite.AI. He is also a member of the Forbes Technology Council.