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Beyond technology, digital transformation is about asset, processes and experience: Madhavan Satagopan, CTO, Altimetrik

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Digital is not mobility and is not about virtual reality or just about data. Primarily, it is about asset, processes and experience. Both the government and businesses need to create a platform that can bring all three elements together leading to improved administration of internal processes and a superior experience to the public. US-headquartered Altimetrik is focusing to provide this platform. In an exclusive conversation with Mohd Ujaley, Madhavan Satagopan, chief technology officer (CTO), Altimetrik shares roadmap for 2017, views on e-governance, and how his firm plans to capture the opportunities in emerging markets including India.

What are the prime focus of Altimetrik?

Altimetrik primarily focused on digital solutions and digital platforms. We cater to two ends of the spectrum – one is to focus on consumers who heavily focus on the digital world. The second is the world of software, needs a very fundamental change, in the way the software’s are written, so we have taken a platform’s approach. We create digital platforms for different domains and industries and that we roll out to our enterprise customers. We primarily engage with large enterprises in the spaces of payments or fintech, in automotive specifically but also the other aspects of manufacturing and more the providers side of healthcare which is more of hospitals and medical devices. We are headquartered in US and our business comes more from India and Uruguay and the emerging markets because we believe emerging markets is the place where the revenue will possibly start growing.

You mentioned about the platform, so what kind of platform is it and how is it different?

Digital is not mobility and is not about virtual reality or just about data. Digital is about three things – One, assets today, we have a physical asset which is money that’s gone and has become digital money or digital asset. Forms will go away and will go in the digital asset. Second asset is the process change. For example – take a home loan application. Today there are 20 steps to follow because of 16 papers involved. So think about it when it all will become digitised. The third is the experience that you want as a consumer. So, digital is about asset, processes and experience. Our platform brings all three together. We put our base platform i.e. 60 -70% of what that particular domain needs at the process level. For example – loans, healthcare, financial inclusion, bank accounts. That encapsulates what kind of assets, what kind of digital processes and what kind of experience you want to give to our customers.

How your proposition is different from companies like Avaya or Genesys?

One is that products like Avaya focus on channel that needs to be taken to render the thing, they still don’t focus on the asset, process or experience. The approach that Altimetrik has taken is that of the platform approach, where 60-80 percent is taken and then the configuration happens of the process happens for example of Axis on Avaya and that’s where the ecosystem is and that’s where Altimetrik is positioned.

How agnostic is this platform? How do you fit in such an environment where there is concentration of such code that nobody wants to touch?

Architecturally we are componentised. We are a big fan of component engineering. The way we have component our architecture it also has specific platform plugins, as we are in the B2B-B2C space. It efforts us to have those 6-8 pluggins as those are the most popular platforms and is like a hook that helps us to latch on to the platform. So, we have built those plugins as part of our platforms. So the platforms is pretty much agnostic but there is a plug-in that integrates almost like a latch.

Apart from fintech, how are you placed in the healthcare sector?

So this I will categorise between – Western world and emerging markets because it is important to understand the nuances healthcare between these two. And let’s acknowledge the fact that healthcare is a compliance driven industry.  So, when it comes to digital connected consumer we are trying to stay away from the compliance part in the western world what is it – Wellness, it is something that the consumer dictates. So, we have positioned our healthcare platform in the wellness space for the western platforms. Whereas, for the Indian platform, it is more about administration, education and awareness. So, we work with global NGOs, organisations even in India where we have observed that people are missing 8-10 steps that are necessary because of the taboos prevalent.  So, in the emerging markets we basically focus more on awareness, education and monitoring whereas, in the western world we focus more on wellness. So, our platform focuses on the both.

How do you help in the administrative part – is it the hospital management, patient data management or what is it?

We actually bring the technology that is required to run many of these contests. In terms of – low cost low resolution videos, low cost low resolution education tool fix, low cost low resolution integration in terms of administering some of these things. We do not meddle with the process of that because it is dictated by the organisation with an authorisation of the government. So, for authorised programs by the government through the authorised networks we provide the technology.

What would be the 2-3 technological area where you see lot of scope?

This can be divided into global and Indian space — globally the three points are – Data Lake pruning. 87% of the data that sits in an enterprise is waste it’s only the 13% that is made use of. This is happening because hardware and infrastructure became so cheap that people would record anything and everything. Another thing is they never realised the fact that when you have 100 TB to process it’s far less efficient that processing 1MB and it’s not the size here; it’s the quality of data. People never focused on what’s the 13% that I need. Secondly, Cyber security is an extremely important feature. Cyber we are heavily investing into and that is the area that is going to come up. Third one is slightly futuristic which is now seen in India as well that human resources are becoming redundant and that machines will replace humans. I personally do not believe in this and machine can never replace humans they can augment them. We are basically in the process of where technology can augment humans and not replace them.

From the Indian context, digital is going to be the main part. The aspect of digital, digital lockers, digital security is going to be very crucial.

Government departments collect large amount of data and some of them are pushing for creation of data lake. Do you see data lake as a viable option?

Data lakes is something where by gathering them we have a single point of failure or breach so it’s better to disintegrate them. However, where the government is focusing is process integration. Process integration by leveraging data wherever it exists is going to be the norm for opportunity space for us.

Large number of government to citizen (G2C) are being offered digitally but we don’t see same zeal to offer government to business (G2B) services. Why it is so?

The more and more SMB sectors and Start-up ecosystem is actually going to promote some of the services demand from the government. Government will have to do direct G2C channels because they do not go through the current networks that the direct business houses go through, they will have to do more direct. I think India is becoming a hot bed of innovation and start-up ecosystem and government is also focusing on this. I think the government should and will focus on opening G2C services or G2B services through that channel. The success that it will show including all aspect of process stream lining, taxation and everything will probably lead the traditional business houses to follow.

What is your sense of overall ecosystem here in India?

I think India is doing a repositioning of itself in its own now, it was all IT and manufacturing before. Now it’s more around innovation, research which is hot bed for a lot of humanistic discipline. The world will go back in to the basics of food, nature, energy, water. All business have been built around this and the businesses have taken a front seat now and these things have taken a back seat. The seed will come out in the next 2-3 years. For that, India needs to be ready as an ecosystem from the point of view of academy, industry, research, innovation etc. I think we have exported talented for too long now and should in-source the talent and nurture engineering because India has the power and is the fastest growing GDP surpassing China. We have the power to be world leader on these aspects. And when we take the leadership, it is going to be enabled by technology and not surpassed by technology.

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