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BPO HRD head talks about the company’s vision in the NE state
Shillong: 7.ai is one of the global leaders in customer engagement solutions and contact services. Founded in April 2000 by P.V. Kannan and Shanmugam Nagarajan with just 20 employees, it focuses on creating exceptional customer experiences for Fortune 500 companies. With its venture in Shillong, the company is looking to change the workspace for young and talented youths.
Business-North East spoke to the company’s SVP and HRD head, Nina Nair (NN), who has been associated with the organisation for 16 years now, to know more about its vision and mission in Meghalaya. Excerpts:
BNE: When did 7.ai venture into Meghalaya and why?
NN: Our association with Meghalaya has been long. We have been recruiting talent from Meghalaya for two decades. However, we took a leap of faith and decided to invest significantly in Shillong by opening our third delivery centre in 2021. In December 2022, we celebrated another milestone by inaugurating our new world-class 400-seater delivery centre at Shillong Technology Park.
We wanted to provide the youth of Shillong a chance to work with international clients, in a world-class environment and advance their careers. While working with us, they also learn how to leverage new-age technology services such as Artificial Intelligence to enhance the customer experience for global Fortune 500 brands.
BNE: Does it have units in other NE states?
NN: In India, we have delivery centres across Bangalore, Hyderabad and Shillong. Meghalaya is home to our only delivery centre in the NE states so far.
BNE: What is its vision for Meghalaya?
NN: Our vision for Meghalaya is 3-fold:
a. Creating a world-class workplace with world-class high-engagement work environment. 7.ai aims to be an employer of choice and a great place to work for the local youth of Shillong by providing an environment that creates happy employees and inclusive work culture.
b. Creating a strong and positive word of mouth about Meghalaya to our clients and prospects to create more jobs locally. We are very upbeat about Meghalaya and have been consistently speaking to our marquee clients and prospective clients in the US about how Meghalaya is emerging as a great centre for us.
c. Develop the community by increasing employment potential and contributing to community welfare. Our aim is to put Meghalaya on the global IT/ITeS map, given our impeccable track record of building global hubs in the IT and ITeS sectors globally. For this, we realise that it is not enough for us to just invest in business growth but also look at how we can create an ecosystem by also looking closely at community development in Meghalaya.
BNE: What kind of technological breakthroughs is it working on?
NN: 7.ai uses artificial intelligence, human insight, and deep vertical expertise to produce personalised, consistent, and satisfying customer experiences. Our advanced conversational AI platform empowers the world’s largest and most recognisable brands to deliver seamless conversations across all digital and voice channels driving great operational efficiencies.
BNE: How would you allay apprehensions about AI?
NN: We had apprehensions when computers came, yet they have only enriched experiences and created better efficiency and productivity. Robotics, IOT and other advancements have all had the same life cycle, until they’ve become mainstream and an invisible part of how we operate. All these advancements have actually created new jobs across different industries and even new job streams like data science and analytics.
Addressing apprehensions about Generative AI within the customer service ecosystem is essential to foster trust and facilitate its responsible adoption.
BNE: How can 7.ai help small states such as Meghalaya?
NN: 7.ai is committed to making a positive impact in states like Meghalaya through various initiatives. This includes creating job opportunities by establishing operations and hiring local talent, thereby contributing to economic growth.
Second, by creating a strong work culture that promotes gender diversity, career growth and professional development, invests in learning initiatives for career advancement and skill development; nurturing talent through rewards and recognition and a world-class work environment.
BNE: Please share an insight into your works in rural areas, if any.
NN: Some of our initiatives to empower the rural areas are:
● Project Udaan: Skill development program for youth to get them job ready for the BPO sector.
● Women empowerment: 256 marginalised women upskilled with vocational training, with 136 placed across various jobs or have established small businesses.
● Project Nirmalya: Clean sanitation facilities at Government schools. We have implemented it in rural areas of Karnataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Bihar and now Meghalaya.
● Education: Scholarships to underprivileged children have been implemented directly by the 7.ai Foundation. We have provided over 75 scholarships to the children in the rural areas of Karnataka, Telangana and Meghalaya.