Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

AI to disrupt manufacturing sector the most: ServiceNow's Kamolika Peres

According to Peres, artificial intelligence is more than just buzz — it is set to bring in a wave of change that can rapidly improve work efficiency

Published: Nov 7, 2023 03:11:03 PM IST
Updated: Nov 7, 2023 03:34:43 PM IST

AI to disrupt manufacturing sector the most: ServiceNow's Kamolika PeresKamolika Peres, VP and managing director for the Indian Subcontinent at ServiceNow

ServiceNow, the $7.5 billion US software company, has been looking at artificial intelligence (AI) for mining nuanced trends. Recently, ServiceNow tied up with Pearson to study the status of India’s workforce, the impact of AI and automation across industries, and the roadmap for stakeholders to equip the workforce with digital skills to bridge the demand-supply gap.

In an interview with Storyboard18, Kamolika Peres, VP and managing director for the Indian Subcontinent at ServiceNow, said that for India to emerge as a $1 trillion digital economy, a future-ready workforce skilled in AI and automation will play a crucial role. The country has the advantage of a huge demographic dividend and can follow swift reskilling pathways to find relevant employment opportunities.

Edited excerpts:



Q. How has 2023 been for ServiceNow in India? What are the key highlights?

India is igniting ServiceNow’s growth globally. Today, in India we serve all of the top 10 technology providers, most of the top five banks, and we are growing fast in the public sector after investing in local data centres last year.

Q. Why was it important to research India's skill economy now? Which are the trends that stood out for ServiceNow?

The impact of AI on the workforce is driving significant change that will require Indian industry to invest in meaningful training to ensure quality and secure careers for people while also enhancing productivity.

The ServiceNow and Pearson research found that AI and automation will require 16.2 million workers in India to reskill and upskill, while also creating 4.7 million new tech jobs. For India to emerge as a $1 trillion digital economy, a future-ready workforce skilled in AI and automation will play a crucial role.

The country has the advantage of a huge demographic dividend and can find swift reskilling pathways to find relevant employment opportunities. The ServiceNow and Pearson research identifies several traditional non-tech FTEs, such as fishery workers, accounting clerks, admin secretaries, dairy and livestock producers that can benefit by taking pre-emptive action.

Also read: For most companies the payoff from artificial intelligence is going to be negative: Aswath Damodaran

Q. AI is the 2023's buzzword. What's your hot take on it?

It’s more than just buzz. AI is set to bring in a wave of change that has the potential to rapidly improve work efficiency. While AI and automation’s influence will reshape a substantial number of repetitive and technical jobs, many workers currently in non-technical roles possess abilities that can be applied to high-quality, more technical work profiles.

For example, the ServiceNow and Pearson research found that India’s deep-sea fishery workers possess 64 Pp of the skills typically required of helpdesk support agents using the ServiceNow platform. Areas with high concentrations of fisheries, such as Kerala and West Bengal, can harness such opportunities and fulfil careers for their citizens.

ServiceNow’s study predicts that manufacturing will witness the biggest disruption, with 23 percent of the workforce primed for automation and skill augmentation, followed by agriculture, forestry and fishing (22 percent), wholesale and retail trade (11.6 percent), transportation and storage (8 percent), and construction (7.8 percent).

Today there are clearer, direct paths for the workforce to build rewarding digital careers. ServiceNow offers more than 600 free training courses and 18 job-related certification paths available to anyone in India who is interested in a digital career. There is national demand for ServiceNow platform skills and opportunities for individuals to gain on-the-job training with leading enterprises and partner organisations across the nation.

ServiceNow is investing in India’s skills growth with a series of state and national programmes to deliver equitable paths to digital careers. The company has announced more than 10 academic partnerships with India-based organisations in the past year to help fill roles across ServiceNow’s growing India customer and partner ecosystem.

In August, ServiceNow also announced its partnership with FutureSkills Prime – a MeitY Nasscom digital skilling initiative to build a future-ready workforce and address critical business needs.

Q. What’s the brand perception of ServiceNow in India? What kind of marketing has the company done this year?

ServiceNow is a respected brand among its core constituency of IT and digital leaders and technology professionals. As ServiceNow offerings grow to span more and more functions across the enterprise, with workflows for HR, finance, supply chain, risk, ESG, legal and more, our endeavour is to reach out to a wider number of stakeholders to communicate the value of the NOW platform. An example of how we do this in India is our Executive Circle events, where we bring together cross-functional C-suite executives from India's leading organisations with thought leaders from across the world to discuss and deliberate on the next level of business transformation.

Also read: The promise and peril of artificial intelligence as a general purpose technology

Q. In the past couple of years, experiences have been at the core of marketing strategies. How will technology disrupt CX further? How is ServiceNow supporting this?

ServiceNow enables enterprises and government organisations to deliver the same level of easy-to-use customer and employee digital experiences that we use every day when we order food or ride services via our mobile phones. The improved efficiency and ease of use takes the drudgery out of corporate processes or dealing with bureaucracy, giving time and energy back to the customers and employees to get on with far more creative and rewarding tasks and work.

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