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TTK Prestige Unveils Strategic Focus on Leveraging AI/ML, Improving Employee Productivity and Customer Experience

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In this exclusive interaction, Express Computer delves into the dynamic world of technology strategy with Ramasubramaniam R, Chief Information and Technology Officer, TTK Prestige. As technology evolves to become an integral part of organisational functionality, TTK Prestige stands at the forefront, recognising its fundamental role in sustaining market leadership and fostering growth. With a comprehensive roadmap, the company strategically embraces emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Generative AI, alongside innovations like chatbots and Robotic Process Automation (RPA). The organisation’s commitment to digital transformation, sustainability, and the proactive integration of cutting-edge solutions reflects a forward-thinking approach.

Can you describe your overall technology strategy for TTK Prestige, including your approach to AI/ML and other emerging technologies?

Technology has become an indispensable component for the functioning of every organisation, a role that has been further accentuated in the post-pandemic era. TTK Prestige, acknowledging the pivotal role of technology, considers it a fundamental pillar for sustaining market leadership, fostering growth, and achieving organisational objectives. The organisation places strategic emphasis on both emerging technologies and the enhancement of existing ones.

Currently, TTK Prestige employs various technologies, including Robotic Process Automation (RPA), chatbots, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to a limited extent. The organisation has devised a comprehensive technology roadmap aligned with its business strategy, intending to leverage AI and ML more extensively in the coming years as these technologies mature.

We stay at the forefront by implementing new technologies. The adoption of SAP S/4HANA in 2016 marked a pioneering move in the industry. Subsequently, the organisation embraced technologies like RPA for business process management, workflow automation, and low-code/no-code solutions. Both employee-facing and customer-facing facets are considered in the utilisation of technology.

Internally, digital technologies such as RPA, BPM, Process Automations, enhance employee efficiency, contributing significantly to the organisation’s operations. Externally, the focus is on business excellence, customer experience, and engagement. TTK Prestige has strategically incorporated cutting-edge technologies to ensure a seamless and delightful customer experience. The integration of new technologies across the eco system enables to delight customers, aligning with the organisation’s DNA of innovation and customer satisfaction.

Since you mentioned about chatbots, are you using it for customer service?

We have strategically integrated chatbots and Language Model Models (LLMs) into our its internal operations, beginning with employees. The LLM models provide intelligent responses, enhancing the overall support system for employees.

The decision to start internally before launching externally, particularly for customer-facing interactions, demonstrates a thoughtful approach to gauge and refine the system’s response. This internal rollout serves as a testing ground to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the chatbots and LLM models.

Digitalisation has been a key focus for us, initiated even before the pandemic. The organisation took significant steps toward digital transformation by eliminating paper-based processes, a notable move for our organisation with over 70 years of history. The establishment of enterprise portals and digital applications allowed employees to have right information at right time and perform their role effectively. Our motto is “Any time and Any Where” with self-services and personalisation.

Amid the pandemic, we accelerated our digital initiatives. This proactive approach aligns with the organisation’s commitment to providing advanced technological solutions to its workforce, creating a more streamlined and efficient operational environment. The success of these internal implementations sets the stage for future ready.

Although you started the digital transformation journey few years before the pandemic started, still do you think that the pandemic has actually accelerated the pace of the transformation?

Yes, absolutely. As I mentioned earlier, we embarked on our digital transformation journey as early as 2017, positioning ourselves ahead of the curve in adopting advanced digital solutions. This proactive approach demonstrates our foresight and readiness to embrace emerging technologies for business cause. The initial implementation catered to a diverse demographic, encompassing both gen-Z and millennials, alongside individuals who are working with us for more than 25 years in the company.

While the initial adoption faced some delays, the onset of the pandemic served as a catalyst for accelerating technological integration. The unprecedented circumstances during the pandemic necessitated a swift adjustment to digital solutions, prompting individuals to quickly adapt to and embrace the available technologies. We witnessed a notable surge in technology adoption as people experienced firsthand the benefits of these digital tools.

The post-pandemic period witnessed a substantial uptick in technology adoption, indicating a positive response from the workforce. This surge in adoption, driven by both necessity and realisation of benefits, showcases the successful integration of technology into our operations. This ability to navigate these changes positions us as an agile and forward-thinking entity in leveraging technology for sustained growth and efficiency.

Could you please elaborate on your dedication to sustainability and environmentally friendly production practices?

Sustainability is a pivotal and continually evolving focus for us, gaining momentum as a central theme in our organisational strategy. We have ingrained sustainability into our core programs, extending across business functions like manufacturing, Distribution & supply chain. Particularly in the IT function, sustainability is a comprehensive approach, commencing from the design phase and permeating through both software and hardware aspects.

In software, we prioritise sustainability, applying the same standards seen in hardware ratings. This commitment ensures high productivity, optimal computing power, and enhanced people productivity. Our business teams, well-versed in these requirements, play a crucial role in delivering sustainable solutions, minimising the need for rework.

On the hardware front, we adopt eco-friendly practices for devices like laptops and desktops, striving to extend their lifespan by reusing and enhancing performance. This aligns with our green initiatives and reduces the environmental impact of e-waste. Moreover, in the context of printing, we’ve significantly curtailed paper consumption, reduced printing by 30% to 40%, and embraced digitisation. This not only aligns with sustainability goals but also addresses factors like cost, resource consumption, and efficiency.

Our commitment to sustainability goes beyond environmental considerations; it encompasses digitising critical processes, automating workflows, and implementing controls to ensure swift and paperless decision-making. By embracing these practices, we not only meet regulatory and statutory requirements but also contribute to a more efficient and sustainable operational ecosystem.

Generative AI is a significant and widely discussed topic across various technology sectors, proving to simplify tasks for many individuals. So, are you leveraging the benefits of Generative AI?

Currently, we find ourselves in the exploration and experimentation phase of the technology lifecycle, particularly with Generative AI, a transformative technology that has the potential to significantly impact people’s lives and disrupt established norms. Our approach to this new frontier is marked by cautious experimentation, evaluating its implications in three key areas.

Firstly, we are keenly assessing its impact on business costs and efficiency, aiming to understand how Generative AI can simplify processes and bring tangible benefits to our operations. Secondly, we are meticulous in evaluating its alignment with governance and legal regulations, especially in light of data privacy laws. This involves a thorough examination of how Generative AI complies with the nation’s rules and regulations. The third critical area of scrutiny is information security and resilience. We are actively investigating the potential cybersecurity threats associated with Generative AI and ensuring that our systems remain robust and resilient in the face of emerging challenges.

While enterprise-level experimentation is underway, it’s worth noting that at the individual level, many are experimenting Generative AI, experiencing firsthand how it simplifies and enhances their work lives.

We see the current exploration of Generative AI as a sea of opportunities. However, our strategic approach involves a meticulous examination of benefits, risks, and threats across the three identified areas. We are committed to embracing Generative AI in various aspects of our operations, moving forward cautiously, and ensuring that it aligns with our goals and values.

How do you anticipate this will impact the workforce?

As a highly lean organisation, deeply ingrained with lean concepts across all functions, we approach the integration of AI and ML tools as a means to support, facilitate, and enable us. Our organisational DNA, shaped by lean manufacturing principles, guides our adoption of these latest and emerging technology tools to enhance efficiency without eliminating roles or workforces.
The tools we are implementing are akin to Virtual Personal Assistants (VPAs), designed not to replace human roles but to empower employees to play leading toles with improved efficiencies. Drawing a parallel with the transformative role of social media on mobile devices, we anticipate similarly AI and ML will play a pivotal role in the coming days.

Our strategic focus lies in leveraging AI and ML to enhance productivity for employees, deliver exceptional customer service, and provide customers with an outstanding experience. We envision these technologies as enablers for acquiring and sustaining market leadership, as well as fostering business growth. Through careful integration and a commitment to enhancing both employee and customer experiences, we are actively working towards these goals.

Pertaining to the Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Act, 2023, have you taken any specific measures or adjustments in response to it?

Certainly. So, just before the government of India passed the DPDP Act, we proactively reviewed and upgraded our policies last year. We meticulously aligned these policies with the draft law, recognising that the maturation of any policy or act takes time. Currently, we are actively navigating this journey, addressing various aspects to align seamlessly with the expectations outlined in the legislation. Our commitment is to ensure compliance and readiness for the evolving regulatory landscape, demonstrating our dedication to safeguarding data privacy.

What would you identify as the primary technological challenge you are facing at the moment?

Embracing innovations like GenAI necessitates a robust governance structure and a regulatory framework laid out by the government. Drawing parallels with the government’s approach to cyber threats, GenAI, seen not merely as a technology but as a way of life, demands regulation and control mechanisms. While it promises substantial benefits, effective governance is vital to manage potential disruptions in this evolving landscape.

Addressing the challenges, one significant aspect involves building and retaining a skilled workforce. The constant evolution of technology and the dynamic nature of the industry demand a continuous effort to enrich the workforce with the requisite skills and expertise. Retaining talent becomes pivotal in ensuring continuity and sustained growth.

Moreover, in our capacity as a progressive nation, the escalating risks and threats in the cyber domain are acknowledged. As technology advances, so does the complexity of cyber threats, emphasising the need for a proactive approach to cybersecurity measures. These challenges, albeit common across the industry, underscore the importance of a strategic and forward-thinking response.

As a Chief Information and Technology Officer, drawing upon your extensive experience in the field, could you highlight one particular technological innovation that you are mostly proud of?

We have witnessed significant achievements that directly impact employee experience and organisational efficiency. The introduction of new practices and automation has alleviated the challenges employees faced, providing them with seamless access to information without dependencies.

In tandem with this, a series of productivity enhancement programs have been implemented, contributing to the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the organisation. The results are evident in the impressive business outcomes achieved over the last five years, showcasing our commitment to staying ahead of the curve in the realm of information technology. The organisation stands poised with a well-established framework to support its continued success.

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