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How NDML Is Driving Digital India Initiatives: Interview With Madhusudhan ML, MD & CEO At NDML

How NDML Is Driving Digital India Initiatives: Interview With Madhusudhan ML, MD & CEO At NDML

Set up in 2004, NDML is a subsidiary Of NSDL, which is one of the largest depositories in the world. Over the years, NDML has ventured into bringing about digitisation, automation, and end-to-end integration of services. One of the key partners for Digital India Initiatives, NDML works closely with the government agencies to implement e-governance projects. From NSR on behalf of NASSCOM, SEZ Online on behalf of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to KRA, PayGov, and more, NDML drives a lot of important projects. Apart from this, NDML is also India’s leading insurance repository. Through its National Insurance Repository service, they help insurance companies and customers maintain their policies in an electronic form.

Analytics India Magazine got in touch with Madhusudhan ML, MD & CEO, NDML to get more insight into how it is driving India into the road to digital transformation. 

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How is the company helping the government in its Digital India campaign? 

NDML is authorised by MeitY – Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to run and operate the online payment collection system for government business, in this regard MeitY has also issued an advisory to States, UT’s to integrate with NDML. NDML’s operated PayGov system already supports more than 250 government departments across various states with online delivery of thousands of services to the citizens. Various government departments recognise the need to have digital payments and are working very closely with us, and this would, in turn, make more services available to the citizens at a click of a button.

What are the kind new-age technologies that you are enabling the government to transform the customer experience? 

Various kinds of product innovation, system customisation are being offered to the government for seamless service roll-out and delivery. Integrated channels, customised, on-demand reports, mobile device support, new age payment modes, low cost, quick settlement, easy integration are some of the important verticals. NDML also has other products such as digital insurance policies, digital KYC records, digital customer on-boarding, digital employment verifications and recruitments, academic certificates and trade compliances that are being provided to provide best in class customer experience. 

What is NDML doing about ensuring security in digital payments? 

Customer and transaction data security becomes our first priority when it comes to digital payments. We have put across a robust infrastructure and security system to ensure secured transaction processing. Controls like merchant authentication, checksum validation, SSL certificate for website authentication and encryption of data-in-transit are implemented to ensure payment transaction received from the authenticated source, and it is not tampered with. 

We have implemented ISO 27001 Certification for all NDML projects to ensure Information Security controls; all data is locally hosted, and BCP is well provided. We have a world-class self-hosted data centre and use best in class cybersecurity systems. Further, we follow robust BCP practices during the day DR Shifting. Also, we do VAPT of all applications and ensure data privacy policies are adhered along with data encryption. 

What are some of the technologies that are helping to streamline and process the initiatives taken towards transforming the consumer experience? 

Digital technologies are transforming nearly every domain in the customer experience for business. Many businesses have already benefited from using these technologies, and it is on the business to improve efficiency, productivity, and growth prospects by continuously evolving, using such technologies. Following are some promising technologies and how they help businesses improve the customer experience journey: 

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  • Chatbots: While this is not the latest of the developments, Chatbots are increasingly being used to address the customer service requests 24/7. I see the businesses expanding the horizon of services and also enhancing the accuracy of response to really specific queries. Use of NLP, understating multitude of queries and standardising the workflows are helping the cause. With the help of AI-powered chatbots, businesses are better equipped to handle customer service functions. I wouldn’t be surprised where chatbot cross-sells a product post addressing a customer query and that to me would be an inflexion point in their usage.  
  • Big Data Analytics: It is transforming the way businesses interact with customers. The technology helps a brand/business understand customers’ problems, aspirations, and expectations, which help in quicker resolution and providing tailor-made solutions according to expectations. 
  • Artificial Intelligence: AI is empowering customer support, conversations, hyper-personalisation and improving decision-making abilities. AI will continue to build the differentiated business ‘edge’ to the businesses in their endeavour to offer delightful customer experience.  
  • Multi-channel accessibility and availability: The cornerstone of customer experience is to be available for the customer in the medium/platform of her choice rather than expecting a customer to come to you. This doesn’t imply that the businesses should have a website and app. Are your services accessible through a WhatsApp chat? Can I avail your services without any paperwork? I can talk about examples of a few financial services businesses where you have to give a signed paper to update the bank account. While the business has a great website and app, if this service can’t be availed without having to download and upload a document, it simply doesn’t pass the customer experience test. 

What is the way forward for the companies in the post COVID world to ensure business continuity? 

While the COVID would eventually be a past, the impact it will have on the practices and policies of Companies would last longer. Companies need to be proactive to ensure business sustainability and continuity. There are four areas that companies to consider in this scenario: 

  • Automation: We have already experienced multiple services, institutions during COVID who have used bots to address customer queries. This is the simplest form of automation. More processes across businesses are likely to be automated.  
  • Do Digital: Digital is not any more one of the channels of service/product delivery. It should be at the heart of every process across all functions. This will help businesses optimise their processes, improve delivery and minimise disruption.  
  • Remote is the reality: Businesses need to recognise this and plan for access to the corporate network, applications etc. The infrastructure should be capable of supporting people working across geography and time with a high degree of efficiency and availability. 
  • Prioritise people: People policies need to be flexible, and it’s important we realise that everyone will deal with the situation very differently. In this scenario, more flexibility vs standardisation of people policies should be the norm. Businesses that understand this and take effective care of their people are likely to thrive and go stronger post the pandemic. 

What are some of the trends in analysis and AI that you see emerging in the post COVID world? 

Analytics, along with AI, gives businesses an edge to prepare and respond proactively in an increasingly uncertain environment. Most of the businesses found themselves short on preparation when the pandemic really hit us. Now that we have experienced the impact COVID had, some of the AI-related experiments and activities would be seriously weighed upon.  

  • Real-time personalisation: We already experience this with some of the services we use to like Amazon or Netflix. This will go mainstream with more businesses offering such services to their users. 
  • AI in healthcare: COVID has put our entire healthcare system under tremendous pressure. The healthcare capacity, whether it is hospitals, beds or the healthcare staff is not easily scalable to respond to such pandemics. AI will increasingly play a role in making vast sets of life-saving data available to the healthcare system. This will help the system to isolate high-risk groups and prioritise treatment.  
  • AI as a service: Not every business would have the resources and capabilities to invest and scale their AI capabilities. Niche and nimbler organisations will start offering AI solutions as a service that will make AI mainstream vs just a few businesses having this capability. 
  • Data security: This will remain the biggest challenge for AI to succeed. While there is no denying that data forms the cornerstone for AI, the users would continue to question what kind of data is being accessed by the business. Businesses will have to prioritise data security and invest in robust infrastructure.  
  • Is it AI, or is it not? We will see a proliferation of AI-led products and services that it will become increasingly difficult for consumers to differentiate with more services using AI capabilities. The example of this being Alexa, Siri or Hi Google. So, increasingly we will get comfortable with AI in our day to day lives.

I foresee a scenario where organisations & businesses would be measured on AIQ or AI quotient, which would indicate how AI savvy are their products, processes and services. 

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