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NIIT Technologies Enhances DCX Offerings with 'Digital Foresight' Tool

NIIT Technologies recently shared insights regarding its push into digital services. This digital push adds to existing priorities, which include growth intentions in North America and Europe and a strong focus on its IT infrastructure services. Meanwhile, the company is maintaining its established focus on clients in three core verticals: transportation, insurance and BFS (which combined account for nearly three quarters of total revenues).

To demonstrate its digital push, NIIT Technologies revealed that digital services accounted for 14% of revenues in its Q1 FY16 (~$14m). The company is making several investments in digital including appointing a head of digital business, and opening a lab in India around IoT.

NIIT Technologies is focusing on:

  • Digital customer experience (DCX), the largest area of activity currently
  • Cloud computing (SFDC, Microsoft Azure, and private clouds)
  • Digital integration, notably through its recent acquisition of a majority stake in Incessant Technologies,)
  • Analytics, where it is focusing on BI services, on software products for the insurance sector - Exact and Acumen - and on Digital Foresight. 

Digital Foresight is a semi-packaged end-user analytics tool targeted at the BFSI sectors and providing analytical outcomes around topics including semantics, consumer sentiment, behavior trajectory, life event patterns, and signature analysis. Digital Foresight extracts and analyzes data available in non-traditional data sources, e.g. Surface Net (data usually not tracked by major search engines), Deep Net (e.g. looking into emails, forums), and Dark Net (data exchanged mostly for illegal activities).

NIIT Technologies currently has four clients (in the U.S.) for Digital Foresight. The focus is on BFS and transportation sectors, and organizations handling large volumes of transactions, e.g. telecoms service providers and the gambling/casino industry. Current client activity includes:

  • For an insurance firm aiming to increase the number of loans it sells to consumers, NIIT has helped the client to understand consumers and prospects in terms of home locations, life habits and preferred interaction channels (through social media and non-social media listening) and monitor customers and detect in real-time early indications of potential loan defaults
  • For an insurance firm’s claim management operations, NIIT has created data set algorithms and is using machine learning for determining the right threshold for paying claims based on claim data analytics (the client’s previous policy was to pay claims under a certain value threshold automatically).

NIIT Technologies sells Digital Foresight under traditional models and is expanding towards new pricing schemes such as SaaS and gain sharing. Implementation time varies between three months and a year, with the number of FTEs involved in the project ranging from six to nine. The level of work involved varies depending on the number and volume of data sources, and the mix of data sources (typically ~40% of data in a given project is internal and the remaining 60% external).

As part of its roadmap, NIIT Technologies wants to make Digital Foresight more and more reusable to new clients, and aims to verticalize it over time.

Putting Digital Foresight in Context

NIIT Technologies’ launch of Digital Foresight is in line with the overall IT services industry which has been launching analytics platforms over the last couple of years. These platforms are not standard software applications usable ‘as is’ with all clients (like payroll services software, for example), but are comprehensive templates that can be tailored to client needs and can integrate with the client’s own tools and systems.

At this stage, the goal of the IT services industry is to overcome the wide heterogeneity of technologies available, especially with the emergence of big data (e.g. Apache’s Hadoop and Spark), data visualization tools, and advanced analytics software. The industry is also aiming to address the range of external data sources – e.g. social media and geographical information, as well as weather information (see the recent IBM Weather Company partnership announcement, for example). Industry-specific data sources are the next priority for most analytics platforms.

Within this context of increased emphasis on analytics tools, NIIT Technologies has, with Digital Foresight, taken a consumer analytics focus. Key areas for development include verticalization, also a clear pricing model, given the general appetite for opex-based pricing

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