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Wipro's deploys 'soft robots' to manage helpdesk, recruitment

The IT major plans to set up an innovation lab in California to partner with clients, start-ups

Bibhu Ranjan Mishra  |  Bengaluru 

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After launching its cognitive intelligence platform, Holmes, Wipro, India’s third-largest information technology services company, is using this in-house innovation to automate internal functions such as helpdesk management and recruitment, through what it terms ‘soft robots’ or ‘genies’. This is aimed at improving efficiency by optimising resource utilisation and reducing costs, says K R Sanjiv, chief technology officer of the city-based company.

All these innovations are being driven out of Wipro’s Technovation Center, located at the company’s sprawling campus in Electronic City here. The centre has about 300 researchers from diverse backgrounds — about 30 doctorate degree holders in different subjects.

  • The Holmes platform is aimed at optimising resource utilisation and reducing costs
  • The platform is in pilot phase for operations such as e-KYC functions of banks
  • These innovations are being driven out of Wipro’s Technovation Center in Bengaluru
  • Wipro is planning to open a second technovation centre in Mountain View, US
  • The company plans to save $300 mn in operation costs through AI platforms

Holmes, a cognitive machine learning platform built at this centre, is set to help the company improve its internal efficiency and productivity. Currently, it is in a pilot phase for various customer operations, including electronic know-your-customer functions by banks.

Wipro has already rolled out the platform for its internal helpdesk management, which receives an average 12,000 queries and complaints from employees. And, it has recorded about 95 per cent accuracy, as well as a much faster pace. This has not only helped the company save costs, it is also exploring developing a ‘recruitment genie’ to automate the hiring process.

“We are just reacting to the environment outside. During the past two-three years, we have been creating sweet spots in a few key areas in which we believe disruption will happen,” said Sanjiv, a Wipro veteran. “We are focusing on four key themes — cognitive system, human machine interface, smart devices such as internet of things and next-generation architecture,” he added.

Now, Wipro is opening another technovation centre in Mountain View, California (US), where it plans to demonstrate to clients the many innovations it is carrying out, apart from working in close collaboration with innovative start-ups.

“We are also closely working with industry body Nasscom in its partnership programme, with the objective of working with start-ups in India that complement works we are already doing. We are supplementing this with selective investments in innovative start-ups, through our corporate venture arm, which has a corpus of about $100 million,” Sanjiv said.

According to reports, at a recent interaction with analysts, Wipro’s chief executive had said the company was planning to save $300 million in operation costs by using automation and artificial intelligence platforms. It is also planning to improve employee productivity by 30 per cent through the next three years.

Holmes, touted as a challenger to IBM’s Watson, a cognitive intelligence platform, is expected to supplement Wipro’s existing platforms such as Base and ServiceNXT.

First Published: Sat, May 16 2015. 23:13 IST