The BPO major is nurturing a new level of cross-departmental proximity with the help of T.A.P. framework
Ask a CIO about business alignment and he will emphasize on the need of it but very few actually do something about it. Not Rajendra Deshpande; the Chief Information Officer at Intelenet Global Services (formerly Serco) has adopted a design thinking approach and repackaged "business alignment" into a new avatar: T.A.P.
Deshpande’s role isn’t just limited to providing IT solutions for business. Instead he has a customer-facing role and is expected to constantly create business value for his organization as well as customers.
Attuned to the role, two years ago, Deshpande came up with an innovative idea to create the T.A.P. framework in order to build the capability to align IT activities to business strategy and performance goals. The T.A.P. framework comprises teams from three functions, namely Technology, Analytics and Process Excellence.
Deshpande followed a creative process when it comes to harnessing the IT team’s potential. "Conventionally IT is always seen as a hindrance for implementing business initiatives. Not anymore. With T.A.P., a new business initiative involves inputs from tech, business and process excellence champions, where we identify all new ideas, understand the priorities, and collect the few ideas that are most compelling for business," says Deshpande.
One such idea was the in-house implementation of an artificial intelligence (AI) tool to allow retrieving airline ticketing fare rules across multiple time zones and websites. Deshpande says that there was a need for a system that is capable of communicating with the client systems and Global Distribution Systems (GDS) in order to simplify the fare rules.
The company wanted to build this tool to serve all different time zones in the most efficient manner in order to serve their customers in the travel or tourism industry.
“Companies across the globe are willing to invest millions in developing a product which can talk to multiple GDS’ across multiple time zones and POS,” says Deshpande.
The T.A.P. team closely worked with the development team to design the AI tool that communicates with the GDS and retrieves the PNR details, reads through the fare rules and check the applicable conditions, thereby calculating the applicable charge or refund due post an amendment or a cancellation.
“Adopting a design thinking approach and ensuring cross training of team members has helped us create a strong value proposition for business as well as customers,” says Deshpande.
The T.A.P. team contributed to the success of the AI tool, with the help of which the company was able to cut down 10-11% in operational cost – the processing time required to process a request using the tool and improve their first call resolutions.
“The AI tool was among the several projects that the T.A.P. team undertook and effectively delivered,” says Deshpande.
Moreover, the team now works with different customers instead of working for them.
Currently, there are 150 people in the T.A.P. framework who are allocated to different projects. For each project, Deshpande says, while the core T.A.P. team remains the same, different resources – based on their domain expertise— are allocated to different projects.
As a result, Deshpande has also been able to address the talent gap in the organization. “We have been able to create positive synergies within the teams and improve the overall organizational culture,” he says.
Deshpande’s goal has been to keep IT aligned with shifting business priorities. In a way, he has set an example for other CIO peers by constantly reinventing the wheel; taking business and customer-facing responsibilities; addressing the skill gap; recognizing talent.
But above all, Deshpande is transforming organizational culture, thereby fostering a new level of cross-departmental proximity; not just alignment.