TCS is helping customers prepare for business 4.0
Vinay Singhvi, Business Unit Head of BFSI for the UK and Ireland, describes TCS’ commitment to helping clients navigate digital transformation.
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is a company that almost requires no introduction: one of the largest and most innovative companies in India with a global reach and almost 450,000 employees, it is a true leader in IT and consulting services. “TCS is one of the world's largest and most recognised brands in its field. Our focus has always been to help customers drive their growth and transformation journeys,” states Vinay Singhvi, Business Unit Head of BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance) for the UK and Ireland. A part of the company for over 20 years, he started as a Systems Analyst in 1999 and gradually ascended to Global Client Director in 2013, before finally securing his current position in 2018.
When asked to consider how TCS has managed to attain such high stature in the UK business community, Singhvi highlights its corporate ethos as essential. “The way we work is primarily about keeping customers at the centre and planning everything around them to ensure we are aligned to both their strategy and their business goals,” he explains. Fundamentally, TCS champions an approach that is cutting-edge without sacrificing the human touch, something that Singhvi considers will only become more important as technology keeps evolving. “It’s not about machines replacing humans; it’s about the augmentation that needs to happen and how hyperautomation and AI (artificial intelligence) will enrich the entire human experience.”
One partner reaping the benefits of this approach is insurance company Vitality, with which TCS has built a relationship stretching back over 10 years. Recognising early on that Vitality’s incentive-based health and wellness insurance platform held revolutionary potential for the industry, TCS began a partnership with the brand, which now, according to Singhvi, “has got one of the best brand recalls within the UK market.” Furthermore, their close integration goes beyond a simple supplier-client relationship, as Singhvi describes, “We do not see ourselves as separate from Vitality. It’s about us working together to understand and implement their strategy and help them in achieving their purpose. Our teams that work as part of Vitality see themselves as more Vitality than TCS, that's how deeply integrated they are.”
A strong believer in preparing for the next generation of digitally-inflected business (Business 4.0), TCS is prioritising a three pillar framework for its customers to help them lead in the new normal based on ‘purpose-centricity’, ‘building resilience’ and ‘being adaptable.’” This approach will be invaluable in its continuing relationship with Vitality: “The insurance industry is run by the underlying data and what the data tells you,” Singhvi states. There’s also a crucial security aspect: cybersecurity and the networks and systems that need to be combined.” Although the future is daunting, TCS has the industry-proven reputation needed to guide its clients through the digital revolution. In a final display of its forward-thinking, Singhvi also details the company’s ‘25 by 25’ vision. “25 by 25 illustrates that, in our view, by the year 2025, all our systems and ways of working will be aligned, so that only 25% of TCS workforce will work out of TCS facilities at any time. In this regard, we are very excited that TCS is taking a leadership position on new ways of working, not just in the UK but globally.”
AI and the future of global trade
Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming entrenched in our daily lives, but the technology is still surrounded by misconceptions and skepticism. Ask the public and they may jump to dystopian scenarios where robots have taken over the world.
While this makes for a good sci-fi blockbuster plot, the reality is different and more benign. Those products that Amazon suggested you buy? AI. That TV series you were recommended to watch on Netflix? AI. That self-driving Tesla car you crave to take for a spin? You guessed it: AI.
There is no single industry that is not being re-shaped by technology. Until recently, however, there was one noteworthy exception: global trade. Fortunately, that is slowly changing.
The mechanism that underpins global trade – trade finance – is an industry that remains largely paper-based and reliant on manual processes. This US$18tn a year industry is now being influenced by a new wave of technological innovation, including AI.
Exploring the potential of AI in Trade Finance
AI refers to the use of computer-aided systems to help people make decisions or make decisions for them. It relies on large volumes of data and models to make sense of information and draw intelligence.
In trade finance, AI is helpful in analysing quantitative data, and the repetitive nature of trade finance means that there is a lot of non-traditional data at our disposal.
This means that when trade finance providers need to assess the risks of funding a transaction, AI models can be a very efficient tool for data analysis and reveal intelligence and risks relating to small companies.
AI helps the industry move beyond traditional credit scoring processes, which are often outdated and remain reliant on historical accounting entries – a barrier that prevents small companies from accessing trade finance and has resulted in a $1.5tn global shortfall.
Overcoming the barriers
AI can tackle this shortfall by creating accurate credit scoring models. This can include a company’s payment history, measure the risks of funding a transaction, identify supply chain risks, and benchmark them against their peer group.
Trade finance providers can use this information to communicate effectively with their SME clients, ultimately helping establish better business relationships.
Towards a technological utopia?
The adoption of AI has the potential to do a lot of good in the industry, and the industry is in the early stages of radical transformation.
Advances are driven by fintechs as well as a willingness to change. The industry is working together to create new infrastructure for distributing trade finance assets to other investors in a transparent, standardised format.
The creation of infrastructure is possible due to improvements in technology and integrated across the trade ecosystem in cooperation with banks, insurers, and other industry participants.
It’s collaboration at its best: together, the industry is using technology to re-shape global trade as we know it.