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Future of ADM in the Digital World

-by Renu Lata Rajani, Vice President, FS ADM, Infosys Ltd.

Sastha Prasad Viswanathan, Group Project Manager, FS ADM, Infosys Ltd.

Viral Thakkar, Senior Principal Technology Architect, FS STAR, Infosys Ltd.

Background - Technologies Enabling Digital Transformation
 
There is a lot happening in areas of robotics, Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, and IOT as businesses turn digital and there is much discussion around how future IT would look like with fast evolving digital landscape.  Application development and maintenance (ADM) engagements have been mainstay of IT outsourcing.  This blog covers how ADM engagements landscape would change in the wake of digital transformation.

Before one makes an attempt to chart out future of ADM engagements in the next decade, it would be good to summarize the futuristic technologies that have been enabling digital transformation.

1. Pervasive Technologies such as Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) and predictive analytics enabling customer experience.
2. Cognitive Intelligence and Machine Learning are being applied to enable many business and technology functions. Future applications will be built with intelligence to learn and change cognitively, rather than execute on fixed instructions.
3. Wearables and fashion electronics have become popular and businesses offer multi-channel customer connect across various channels including wearables.
4. Disintermediation platforms have removed the middleman and have provided direct connect with the new partners.  Blockchain technology is providing a secure platform for partners to conduct business seamlessly.  
5. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is quickly changing the concept of workplace.  The future workplace would offer increased co-existence of the robots, virtual personal assistants, conversational systems and humans.
6. Application Programming Interface (API) & Microservices, Data Analytics and Cloud are changing the technology architecture of IT systems.

As per Gartner [1], "Intelligent, Digital, and Mesh" are the key strategic technologies for 2017. 

From Financial Service perspective, Banking on Cloud, Blockchain, Fintech, and Open Banking are trends shaping the industry. 

Changing Expectations of Our Clients

As per Forrester [2] research, the CIOs would move focus away from IT to focus on "Business Technology" to enhance customer experience and enable profitable growth.  Business technology would require outcome management as against traditional demand management focus of IT.  Accordingly, the spends would be on outcomes and not on specific projects. 
Hence, CIOs would -

1. Acquire more customer obsession and partner with Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) to deliver on digital initiatives.  CIOs would think beyond IT and CMOs would think beyond customer experience.
2. Enable the workforce with mobile devices as central to workforce strategy. 

The service providers would need to -

1. Offer outcome management capabilities as against pure technical capabilities.
2. Offer single interface to deal with Business Technology rather than providing multiple experts to clients to reach out to. For convenience we call these professionals as "Business Technologists" as against "System Analysts" who brought in IT architectural view or "Business Analysts" who brought domain/industry view.

Changing ADM Engagements Landscape

Discrete design, development and delivery methods will fall short for Digital "Business Technology" projects.  The business technology engagements would require "Design" thinking.  "Design" thinking would remove the boundaries between software and infrastructure development. "Design" thinking process is more customer centric and iterative. It would assist in developing creative solutions when the problem itself is inadequately defined. 

Digital projects would be perpetual in nature and would require ongoing development.  Maintenance work would shrink.

Enterprise applications will be multi-layered.  The schematic here provides a snapshot -

Front-End

- Increased self-service layer with applications such as mobility solutions, future branch
- Limited assisted service applications that can work with third party applications.
- Third-Party applications such as "Open Bank"

Security Layer - Enterprise security framework that can control access at organizational level

Applications Layer Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Business Process Management (BPM) layers 

API Layer - API layer and Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) connecting the Applications (CRM, BPM) with products/Services layer.

Products/Services Layer -Products such as Core Banking Platforms, Payment Engines, Anti-Money Laundering, Loans packaged products as well as products offered on Service are part of this layer.

Enterprise Data Lakes - Offers common data across above layers

IT project delivery would follow Agile/DevOps principles - design, development, testing, infrastructure and deployment would preferably come from a single self-organized team to deliver projects.  Cloud native applications can be developed easily using containers/micro-services.  Containers would bridge the gap between new services and legacy applications.

There is a myth that the legacy applications cease to exist in light of new Digital applications.  The legacy applications would continue to co-exist along with new digital applications as customers need to retain the existing IT while they introduce digital transformation. 

The three plateaus of IT that the businesses witness would continue to exist, but the proportions would see a shift with legacy applications maintenance getting optimized, and making way for ongoing modernization and more development.  Digital development of today, considered complex would become the business-as usual.

Legacy is a relative term.  What is "Legacy Modernization" and "Digital" today would become Business as Usual "Legacy" in near future.

Conclusion - Vision for ADM Engagements - Key Priorities

Based on changes in ADM landscape discussed above, some of key priorities include -

Broaden and Deepen ADM reach - Examine each portfolio against our experience/service offerings and penetrate in white-spaces through extreme offshoring and extreme automation propositions. Distributed agile and SAFe methods should be deployed to enable extreme offshoring.  Extreme automation should be considered across onboarding, transition, development, production release, maintenance, and production support.  Also, areas such as Augmented/Virtual Reality (AR/VR), though sound engineering oriented, would easily leverage the programming skills in ADM team and be of interest to our programmers. 

Upskilling/Reskilling - Technology adoption, learnability and understanding of Business and technology is critical for ADM than ever before. Business analysts would need to be well-versed with technology and Developers, Testers and Managers would need to be more well-versed with business/domain knowledge. This expectation fully aligns to Infosys Zero Distance Philosophy - Every developer, project manager, analyst and architect should be at "Zero Distance" - to the end user (Desirability), to the underlying technology (Feasibility) and therefore to the value (Viability)".

The trainings should be on-demand and can leverage partners such as Udemy, Udacity, Coursera, Pluralsight, to name a few.  In addition, there should be increased focus on certifications/skill assessments as part of the training. 

Introduce Infosys Artificial Intelligence Platform (NIA) to ADM clients - Creating a NIA power-programmer team is a key priority.  Programmers should be upskilled in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence areas to implement NIA for ADM Clients. Some of the FS-ADM specific use cases of NIA include - 

1. Understanding customer purchase behavior across retail channels
2. Data lakes relating to credit history, KYC, fraud prediction, customer churn prediction, etc
3. Analysis of tax relief at source and exception reports
4. Policy document knowledge and multi-channel chatbot support

Roll-out Nextgen Delivery Model (NGDM) to enable at any scale, closer connect with clients and teams, enable multi-shift/multi-zone presence with clients.  The computing infrastructure could be start-of-the art with all machines web-cam enabled.

Offer multi-channel and chatbot support - ADM service line should create a platform for multi-channel/chatbot support for rapid development and deployment across multiple platforms.

References
[1] Gartner
http://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/gartners-top-10-technology-trends-2017/
[2] Forrester
https://www.forrester.com/The+Business+Technology+Agenda+Playbook+For+2015/-/E-PLA740


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