Know thyself and get ahead
If you’re an IT professional in today’s highly digital world, a top executive of a “new age” tech company offers one important career advice: Know how to reinvent yourself.
“Gone are the days when you can pick one skill and say, I’m going to become a master of that skill. That was 20 years ago,” says CSS Corp. Country Head and Assistant Vice President Arvind Kingsly Appavu. Established in the United States 17 years ago, CSS Corp. is an IT company focused on “new age” technology solutions such as automation, artificial intelligence, and analytics.
The company set up shop in the Philippines, where its services fall mostly under customer support, nine years ago, says Appavu, after discovering the country’s rich IT talent pool.
“We saw an opportunity with the talent pool that was available here and the alignment that it had toward the US culture; 85 to 90 percent of our clients happen to be in America,” Appavu says. The language acumen that came along with that fact, and the fact that [you have] a very young population in general was very attractive for us.”
CSS intends to expand that talent pool by 400 in its new office in Taguig City; currently the company employs 500.
Many of their clients are companies that fall under telecommunications, retail, and consumer goods sectors.
CSS Corp.’s ultimate goal, says Appavu, is to help these clients deliver the best customer experience in the simplest way possible.
“That’s the objective of using technology in the entire support space—to simplify the customer experience. We’re trying to build an intimacy between our clients and their customers,” Appavu adds.
One way CSS Corp. does this is by maximizing the customer data available to them, Appavu says, such as their behavior.
Using predictive analysis, clients can then proactively reach out to their customers and anticipate their needs, rather than going the traditional route where they just react to customer feedback.
Automation and artificial intelligence are two other tech tools significant not just to the enhancement of customer experience, but also to the professional environment of those working in tech support, such as CSS Corp.’s employees.
Appavu explains that AI and automation aren’t here to replace humans; rather, they should be seen as augmentation of human knowledge.
“Agents who work in this industry are its biggest strength. The knowledge that they have and the feedback that they can give to the clients and the organization are just incredible. I could be CEO of an organization but never understand the true pulse of the customers of my client like one of my agents does, because he’s talking to them day in and day out,” says Appavu. “So if you make that agent’s life simpler [with automation and AI], then he’s got time to help out with other stuff.”
Appavu emphasizes, however, that many companies are still in the early adoption of phase of such technologies; hence the opportunity to upskill their workforces.
CSS Corp., in particular, has a digital career progression program called Reimagine to help employees learn more about new age digital tech.
That’s the edge of Filipino IT talent, says Appavu—they’re not only young and dynamic but also digitally savvy.
“For us, as an organization in the Philippines, that hits a real sweet spot: that kind of workforce and the skills they can already bring in, plus the opportunities that come with upskilling them as we ride this digital technology wave,” he says.
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