Mahindra’s long drive on the tech superhighway

In the coming weeks, the Mahindra Group will launch the second version of ‘Digital Human’, the digital avatar of Anand Mahindra. Our ‘Digital Human – Anand’, with its advanced AI capabilities, can provide a one-of-a-kind conversational experience that not only answers questions but also builds a deeper connection with the user.

Digital humans are an advanced form of conversational AI that uses natural language processing (NLP) to simulate a human-like conversation.  NLP technology enables machines to understand and interpret human language and respond accordingly, making it possible for digital humans to carry out complex conversations with humans in a natural way.

Digital Human is just one of the many disruptive technologies being developed by the Group Technology Office. Echo caught up with Mohit Kapoor, Group CTO, to learn more about Mahindra’s tech roadmap – and here’s what he had to say, “Exciting times to be living in technology...”

Q. What disruptive digital transformations do you foresee in the near future that could impact businesses?

Ans: “Digital technologies are transforming the business landscape and creating new opportunities for growth and innovation. I believe, ‘Generative AI’ will transform content creation, customer service, and personalisation, and we're exploring ways to leverage it to enhance our customer and employee experiences.

‘Metaverse’ is another technology that has the potential to revolutionise how we connect with our customers and partners, and we are already incorporating it into our offerings. Take, for instance, the XUV400verse, which has enabled Mahindra enthusiasts and customers to engage, collaborate, socialise, and have an immersive product interaction prior to booking the newly launched XUV400. The platform hosted three lakh+ visitors during the initial 40 days of the launch itself.

AI and machine learning are becoming increasingly important for businesses to stay competitive, and we're investing heavily in them to enhance our products and services. Same with IOT and cloud computing.”

Q. How do you prioritise technology initiatives at Mahindra Group, and what criteria do you use to determine which projects to invest in?

Ans: “All our tech spending and investments are aligned with the business goals and the expected value that businesses can derive. The potential return on investment is evaluated for all the initiatives, and we want to ensure that projects generate a positive ROI over time, whether it be improved efficiencies, enhanced customer experience, cost savings, or even new revenue streams through disruptive business models. Initiatives are prioritised based on their potential to scale across the organisation or across the customers to whom we cater.

Q. What are some of the key technologies that Mahindra Group is currently focused on, and what benefits do those technologies offer?

Ans: “Having seen leaps and bounds in AI over the past decade, Mahindra Group is betting big on data and AI. We are leveraging data across all our businesses. We are partnering with various businesses as part of M1 to create a collaborative platform by leveraging data from business groups to understand the customer requirements, customer journeys, and provide a consistent experience across touchpoints. This has been pivotal in improving marketing and sales operations across the group companies.”

Q. How do you stay up to date with emerging technologies and trends, and what strategies do you use to ensure that Mahindra Group is always at the forefront of innovation in your industry?

Ans: “To be future-ready, we are constantly on the lookout to adopt the rapidly changing tech landscape, and we do so by investing in learning, upskilling, partnering with startups and experimenting boldly. We have conducted several learning programmes to equip our employees, including our top leadership, with the latest skills and knowledge from academia and industry experts. One example of this is the recently concluded AI immersion programme (‘Tech Vision Program’) with Carnegie Mellon University, which focused on various areas of AI. Earlier this year, we conducted a competition called the ‘Start-up Leap’ that sought to build a dynamic forum to nurture and accelerate the growth of the participating start-ups through a long-term engagement model on some of the most evolving digital projects.”

Q. Can you share some examples of how Mahindra Group is using technology to drive sustainability initiatives and reduce its carbon footprint?

Ans: “Mahindra embarked on reimagining customer experience by leveraging the power of cloud, hence allowing the Group to do things like customer data platforms, enabling predictions better with the help of data and AI. The advantages of using microservices architecture and running SAP on the cloud are better agility, better innovation, and high customer centricity. This also helps in the Group’s ESG agenda of building sustainable solutions, with the cloud being an enabler for environmental sustainability. Mahindra has laid the foundation for digital businesses which can scale very quickly with the help of cloud architecture We are now 20% faster at execution of jobs, have shown 35% improvement in developer efficiency and have offset carbon footprint equivalent to planting 20,000 trees annually.”

Q. Do you see AI taking away jobs?

Ans: “I see AI complementing jobs and improving productivity 10x with the co-pilot model. Just like the Github co-pilot model which can understand a developer's intentions and suggest code snippets that are syntactically and semantically correct and aid in completing code. Likewise, we will have co-pilots in all repetitive tasks which will only make us more productive resources, leaving us with more time for complex tasks. AI at the surface seems like it has the potential to disrupt some jobs or accelerate reskilling of some jobs, it is unlikely that it will completely replace humans. New opportunities are also likely to emerge particularly in fields related to AI, ML and data science.”

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