Not afraid of recession, demand for automation will go up: Verint CEO

Nasdaq-listed customer engagement solutions company Verint Systems, which reported revenue of $875 million in FY22, says that India business registered double-digit year-on-year growth across segments. Dan Bodner, founder, CEO, and Chairman of the Board at Verint said that India has been amongst the top two contributors to the Asia-Pacific revenue of the New York-based analytics company and will continue to expand in the country. In an interview with Sourabh Lele, he talks about its plans for India, the rising demand for AI/ML, and the road ahead. Here are the excerpts from the interview:

What is Verint’s presence in India? How many people are there in your India team?

We have a pretty large service centre here, about 600 people. We doubled over the last two years. We have two locations- Bangalore and Delhi. Currently, we serve around 100 customers in India – all the top Business Process Management companies (BPMs), and top banks are our clients. From the top 10 BPMs, nine will be our major customers. Axis Bank, ICICI, and Bank of Baroda, all are our customers.

India offers scale and we plan to continue to expand. At present all our services are being offered from India. This includes technical services support, cloud operations, development services, and R&D.

What is your business expansion strategy in India? 

We are expanding in India in two ways. First, we are expanding the services we have here for global consumption. Also, we are expanding the business in the country. After the Covid pandemic, markets are opening again, in terms of both domestic business as well as global services. We expanded very quickly in the last three years, and we have plans to continue to invest.

How has business been impacted due to global macroeconomic uncertainties? Are clients talking about budget cuts?

I think that the IT budgets are expected to come down. But the priority in the IT budget is – what gives the client return on investment quickly. If a project will have an impact after three years, then they would wait or hold on to the investment. If it is three months, they say, I want it now.

We are in a unique position as we provide automation technology to elevate the customer experience without increasing the spending on the work. In a recession, that is a very interesting solution to the problem that many companies have and even when we talk to the BPMs here, while their business is to deliver services to the people, they also need automation. So, they can make their people more productive, and they can charge more and have a better margin. We are not afraid of recession, we have something that will resonate with customers even in a recession.

Do you think your business in India is resilient with the headwinds in the BPM industry like delayed decision-making?

Many of the customers we have here are BPMs, doing business in other markets. So, what we see in the global market, we see in India. It is not different. We help companies to interact and provide service and it has always been a very labour-intensive segment of the market. Globally, brands are spending $2 trillion a year on labour and that’s a big number.

The business is not just about ‘calling’ anymore. It is now digital and people are not willing to wait for an answer. They want an answer right now, contextual quick responses. So, this pressure from the consumer on companies to provide better service is applying pressure on companies to hire more people. Companies, especially in a recession, can’t do that. So, we call it a capacity gap, and expanding the capacity with people is too expensive, even in India. So, you need automation, you need technology, AI and that’s where we stand.

How are you using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for customer experience solutions and the scale of your work?

Everything we do is about workforce efficiency using ML to improve the tools that we give to the workforce to be more productive. We are about a billion-dollar company, a public company in NASDAQ (National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations) stock market. We have 10,000 customers around the world with global companies. We spent $150 million on new technology and that’s where we keep putting more ML and AI to help customers do exactly this to close the capacity gap.

Source: GWFM Research & Verint


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