AuthBridge in media
Businesses leveraging APIs are witnessing a continuous rise in innovation and productivity. APIs are now a prominent part of digital transformation strategies for many banks and fintech since they help to integrate and optimize the data lying across organizations, systems, and databases.
APIs are the core of collaborative and valuable ecosystem partnerships. By defining the communication protocols between various internal and external applications across the enterprise functions, the APIs have provided the freedom of accessing accurate and up-to-date data in real-time to both the customers and bankers. Many banks and fintech are leveraging open banking APIs for building enhanced products and delivering business value at scale as opposed to ripping and replacing legacy products and creating everything from scratch, with the risk of obsolescence due to the rapidly evolving technology landscape and customer needs changing faster than ever.
Stitching the components of Digital Strategy with API
The components of a successful digital strategy are Customer Experience, Data, Technology, and Data Security. The industry has been undergoing a data revolution over the past few years and the leaders of this revolution will be players who leverage on their digital strengths to provide the best experience for their customers. By utilizing the raw data collected at each customer touchpoint, to gather critical insights, these players are able to pinpoint their target group and then reach them through the right channels with the right solutions.
API impacts these individual components by creating protocol around the usage of data, the business process involved in the communication, and the deliverables in terms of customer experience.
Customers onboarding for small value loan distribution enabled via API
The lenders can take in PAN details of the partner, use NSDL API to verify the data instantly, generate GSTIN from PAN through GSTN. This additional data can be used to fetch establishment details like address, date of incorporation, etc. and automatically fill the application form. The bank account can be verified via NPCI’s penny drop mechanism. Bank statements and GST 3B returns can be fetched via APIs to analyze the financials for the merchant. The final agreement can be signed via OTP on mobile
With very few inputs and a consent-based application approach, a holistic picture is generated via data fetched through APIs, and a paper-heavy application process is reduced to a completely digital journey of few steps. The data inputted by the merchant/partner is verified, and advanced analytics is used to validate the returns and bank statements of the partner reducing risks for financial fraud.
Enabling banking services available on accounting platform
Open Banking is emerging as next big thing in financial services and it is driven through Open APIs on banking data. One major use case within open banking is providing banking services on accounting platform. SAAS (Software-As-A-Service) based accounting players are best placed on integrating banking APIs and enabling SMEs to manage banking and accounting from the same platform. Using banking APIs, customers could able to fetch his bank balances, statements on accounting platform itself and do reconciliation. In addition, customers may initiative payments using payments APIs from platform. Bank Open and Ezo have been notable Fintechs in the accounting-based Neo Bank platform.
Emergence of API stack players
As part of digital ecosystem evolution, next set of API Stack players, also known as Infrastructure API provider or API enablement Technology are playing a significant role in driving digitization program at Banks/ FIs and success stories of Fintechs and startups. Developers are their prime target as it enables developers to pick up available APIs and plug into their products. There is significant interest from investors towards these companies. It is mainly because of their ability to fast track and power process automation and simplification.
One such player who provides APIs for digital onboarding and authentication in India is AuthBridge, a fintech organization that helps to design the digital on-boarding journeys for the BFSI segment via APIs and advanced AI technologies. The design of onboarding journey includes verification of identity, businesses, financial, criminal litigation along with digital address verification and digital signing. AuthBridge has enabled these features through its API gateway platform. which helps create real-time onboarding and smoothen user journey flows
The regulatory framework issued by the Reserve Bank of India allow Banks and NBFCs to use Video based customer identification process. This has allowed financial institutions to dramatically reduce the time and cost associated with the KYC process. KYC solution providers including AuthBridge are now launching Video KYC and Video PD solution for KYC and Re-KYC for new accounts and customer onboarding for lending, using Data extraction via OCR and real-time validation via PAN and offline Aadhaar APIs. Combined with facial recognition and gesture-based liveness detection, customer identification can be completed in a TAT of a few minutes. Automated agent assignment, screen captures, geo-location tagging, and an end to end encrypted video audio storage are added features to create a secure and error-free identification.
API as a turnkey solution for innovation in the Financial Services Thanks to the way the APIs are enabling data by creating platforms where no intimate knowledge of the accessed software is required, financial services players are witnessing faster go-to-market and reduced customer acquisition costs. APIs have now become the core of accelerated, new, and innovative development projects.
Consuming an API is as easy as building structures with Lego bricks, without necessarily spending resources on programming or R&D. These new age Third-party API integrators and gateways can help to build APIs and create access to Bank APIs, respectively. They can connect people, places, systems, data, and algorithms for products and services. The way the APIs are consumed can be customized as per individual requirements.
The Regtech has become a critical ecosystem partner in handling, integrating these APIs into financial services. The data generated via these APIs help to monitor and manage KYC/AML and other compliance-related procedures, along with risk mitigation associated with identity tampering and financial frauds.
Fintech organizations are now partnering with BFSI companies to build on APIs and help in standardizing, automating, and expediting their current processes, removing concerns around data authenticity and multi-source dependencies, facilitating agile development in response to changing consumer and technology needs. But, the beneficiaries of these emerging API systems are the customers who now have access to better competitive products and great customer experience.
Source: The digital fifth
AuthBridge, a leading authentication technology company offering data-based decisions, has identified early trends that will shape onboarding and verification of employees, customers, and business partners across industries in an aftermath of this pandemic.
The world around has changed irrevocably, and the impact is touching every aspect of the business. AuthBridge, a leading authentication technology company offering data-based decisions, has identified early trends that will shape onboarding and verification of employees, customers, and business partners across industries in an aftermath of this pandemic.
With technology taking a center stage in a contactless world, the spotlight is now on digital products and systems to build the same level of trust that physical interaction with clients, customers, and employees do.
Ajay Trehan, CEO and Founder of AuthBridge, elaborates, “Businesses across the world are forced to make some tough calls today. The emphasis is on spending every penny on a constructive and trustworthy partnership – be it with employees, vendors, merchants, leaders, or customers. The twin objective – of meticulously authenticating these stakeholders before forming or continuing a relationship and doing so within the confines of social distancing – is generating a ferocious demand for innovative onboarding and verification products.”
AuthBridge shares industry-wise trends by digging data around early demand for digital trust platforms that can address business handicaps resulting of COVID-19.
The Gig Economy: Companies will be battling labor shortagesin food delivery businesses and home, and rental services domain. AuthBridge has innovated and developed a Digital Address Verification solution that allows candidates to verify their address on their own through GEO coordinate validation, removing any need for physicalcontact.Packaged with instant identity verification and criminal verification, this onboarding product for on-demand economy isin high demand. In the next 6 months, almost 70% of AuthBridge’s clients in the space are expected to opt for this.
The BFSI sector:AuthBridge has empowered its clients in this sector with Contactless Customer Onboarding using technologies like Video KYC, OCR, image recognition, face match and instant verification through government and proprietary databases. As per an estimate of Bain Consulting, retail banks can see a 20% increase in revenue and a 30% cut in costs through digitization and technology adoption.About 70% of AuthBridge’s clients in this sector are expected to build digital onboarding capabilities using their APIs and custom workflows.
Real Money Gaming:This sector was already on a rise before the pandemic hit the world;under a national lockdown, it has only grown further. This is being attributed to people having more leisure time in hand.The online gaming sector is expected to reach $1.1billion by the next year. AuthBridge is assisting online gamingcompaniesin verifying the legal age of players to stay compliant to the law of the land. Through an easy API integration, AuthBridge can provide Instant Identity & Age Verification solution powered by the face match tech. Through geo-coordinate validation, it is possible to bar players operating from states where online gaming is banned.
The EdTech sector: This sector has witnessed a 26% increase in user visits between April 2019 to March 2020.With remote education becoming the norm, EdTech will need ways to register attendance of students digitally and validate identity and educational qualifications of teachers on their platforms. AuthBridge’s real time Identity Verification solution, Digital Education Verification solution and Criminal Record Verification solution will see a huge demand in this sector. Technologies like liveness detection and GEO-coordinate validation will go a long way in determining the presence of a real student or teacher who is supposed to be in the virtual classroom
The Healthcare sector: One of the most stressed sectors today, healthcare will need advanced authentication technologies as e-pharmacies, positioned to grow 7 times to $3.7 billion by 2022, pick pace in the post-COVID era.It will become essential to vet suppliers, vendors, and pharmacists to ensure the quality of medicine and medical products. AuthBridge’s Business verification APIs can validate genuineness and legitimacy of a vendor and its business.
AuthBridge, servicing over 1500 leading companies across the country, has made significant investments in advanced background check and onboarding technology rooted in AI and ML over time. This investment now seems prescient and is helping AuthBridge cater to the demand for contact less, presence -less digital trust products in a changed world.
Ajay gives an example; “our databases have been nurtured over years and rely on state-of-the-art verification technology. The AI enabled engine, in case of our criminal database, helps scan over 200 million+ records and yield best possible matches in just a few seconds. It has been trained to make sense of an extremely unstructured and non-standardized dataset while providing instant results, eliminating the need to physically visit police stations to get a match.
AuthBridge is gearing up as a background verification company
Globally, background checks saw a surge after 9/11. In the early 2000s, Ajay Trehan, CEO and founder AuthBridge had founded CoreBPO – his second entrepreneur- ial venture. He served clients from Europe and the US and with global mandates evolving at the time, these clients started asking for background checks of employees working on their account and data back in India. Tre- han saw this as an opportunity and started this journey. “At the time there were no protocols, methodologies or even an understanding of what clients would want to verify. It will be fair to say that this space in India has matured along with us,” says the 49-year-old Trehan, who is based in Gurugram. He has offices in Mum- bai and Bengaluru with around 700 employees. “We don’t have presence outside India yet, but we are capable of conducting verifications in more than 100 countries.”
AuthBridge started in 2005 when India had almost no infrastructure or ecosystem for employee background verification.It was somewhat limited to defence services and some other government institutions. AuthBridge was the first Indian company to lay the foundation of this industry pan- India and developed technology and automated operations. AuthBridge services over 1,500 leading compa- nies across the country in advanced background check and onboarding technology rooted in artificial intel- ligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). AuthBridge has delivery capabil- ity in 140 countries.
“Today, AuthBridge has evolved to be a tech company working in HRTech, FinTech and RegTech space offering products in onboarding, veri- fication and intelligence,” says Trehan an entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience. He has nurtured the organisation from a largely services- based to a highly tech-enabled busi- ness model. Today, AuthBridge delivers impact risk mitigation solutions to clients, including Fortune 500 organ- isations to name a few like AuthLead, WorkAttest, TruthScreen and Student Services Bureau.
Before becoming an entrepre- neur, Trehan worked with Shriram Industrial Enterprises (a part of the erstwhile DCM group) and then ICI India. His ability to recognise new business opportunities when mar- kets and technologies are in transi- tion also prompted him to co-author CoreBPO, a business process outsourc- ing company that specialised in pro- viding business process outsourcing to the global real estate industry.
Increase in revenue
In the BFSI sector, AuthBridge has empowered clients with contactless customer onboarding using technolo- gies like Video KYC, image recognition, face match and instant verification through government and proprietary databases. As per an estimate of Bain Consulting, retail banks can see a 20 per cent increase in revenue and a 30 per cent cut in costs through digitiza- tion and technology adoption. About 70 per cent of AuthBridge’s clients in this sector are expected to build digi- tal onboarding capabilities using their APIs and custom workflows.
“Our competitors are First Advan- tage, HireRight, Checkr, Onfido, Idfy, trulioo among others. While some of our competitors such as Onfido spe- cialises in identity verification only and others in background verification, we bring in the combination of both – specialisation of ID verification plus background verification on our tech platforms – TruthScreen and iBRIDGE – where background verification can be done through either of our products – StaffAssure, AuthLead or Digital KYC or can be done basis required checks. The combination of background verifi- cation expertise and tech enablement makes us stand out as compared to our competitors,” claims Trehan.
“We acquired one of our competi- tors, Footprints Collateral Services in 2018, which also marked the biggest acquisition in this space in India,” adds Trehan. Apart from a small round raised from friends and family, the company is bootstrapped. “Without disclosing numbers,” he says the com- pany is profitable. “Our revenue has increased by 125 per cent from FY17 to FY20, accompanied by a 5 times jump in check volumes.”
“As a technology partner, SysArc has consistently been able to rely on the AuthBridge team for a plethora of identity, address, and financial history services. In turn, the relationship sim- plified and streamlined our customers’ digital transformation journeys to a great extent. Their set of standard APIs could be seamlessly integrated into our platform for faster downstream checks and enhanced operational efficiencies for our customers,” says Govind Garg, senior VP, SysArc. “Next three years will be exciting.
A lot is changing around us and Fintech is evolving. The world has realised the importance of digitization and remote working, but the risks of frauds are still a reality,” says Trehan who is passionate about mentoring young entrepreneurs actively associated with NASSCOM and TiE, where he regularly speaks on subjects like innovation, process and business transformation, trust infrastructure etc.
Source: Business India
By Ajay Trehan, Founder & CEO - AuthBridge Research Services Pvt. Ltd
If you are wondering why Employee Experience Enhancement is suddenly a hot topic in 2020, here’s something to chew on: talent is scarcer than ever. Rising global unemployment trends might indicate towards a war for jobs, but as far as employers are concerned, theirs is going to be the war of attracting and retaining the right talent that can impact the bottom line. Research suggests that top talent will be eight times more productive whereas “failure to attract and retain top talent” is the number-one issue today for CEOs.
Even as the importance of Employee Experience Enhancement becomes clear, it’s not easy to get it right simply because organisations are slow or reluctant to spend time, money and effort in understanding what the talent today wants. It’s a pity because trillions of dollars worldwide are spent in understanding customer journeys vis a vis sophisticated tools and technology, but employee journeys receive little attention, if at all. Diana Dosik, Partner at the Boston Consulting Group, revealed in her Ted Talk that business leaders spend less than 5% of their time in understanding what really drives talent. This is despite the proof that happy employees lead to happier customers. Gallup, a Washington-based analytics and advisory company, reported that employees who are engaged are more likely to improve customer relationships, with a resulting 20% increase in sales.
Because there is a limited understanding of what talent really wants, most organisations working in the direction of employee engagement enhancement mistake it for:
- A perk-led initiative
- An exercise concerning only current employees
- Limited to employee engagement
- A time-bound activity to be facilitated by a tool, an app or a system
- The job of the HR department
- Only beneficial to employees and not employers
What does talent really want?
People’s experience at workplaces today is a crucial factor contributing to their overall happiness. This contrasts with baby boomer, who primarily expected their work to make their ends meet and pay the bills. Millennials and Gen Z expect their workplaces to match their consumer experience i.e. customized, user-friendly, seamless and meaningful. Like customers look beyond the product/service to a brand’s reputation and reviews, social media presence, supply chain; employees too pay attention to wider needs. In contrast to before, employee-employer relations today is a two-way street where both parties want the best for themselves and expect the other to meet them midway, at the least. Talent really wants employers to recognize, facilitate and even celebrate the moments that truly matter in its journey, starting at recruitment and ending with separation.
What’s working for organisations known for great employee experience in 2020?
It is not surprising that the top trends around improving the experience of employees today are digitalization and technology led. Organisations are relying on data and analytics-driven decisions to not only attract the talent that is the best fit but also to nurture long-term relationships with the talent they lost to competition. Employer branding initiatives by many forward-looking companies target prospects with strong brand messages at platforms candidates best engage with. This is to generate awareness, interest and eventually consideration. Falling under the umbrella of Recruitment Marketing and Candidate Relationship Management, these initiatives rooted in technologies like AI and ML are killing two birds with one stone. They are leading to better workforce planning, skills gap analysis, assessment and retention and are saving costs big time.
Digital Onboarding - Making first few experiences count
For the tech-oriented generation of today valuing convenience highly, the first few interactions with the brand impact the overall brand impression. Interviews, form filling, background checks and onboarding are all processes during which a candidate’s mind registers many impressions and derives multiple conclusions -consciously and subconsciously.
Employers today are working with verification partners who can generate instantaneous authentication results across most parameters of identity, profile and behavior. This ensures that candidates can be onboarded as soon as possible after they say yes to a job offer. Digitally onboarding new employees so that all departments are on the same page and all actions associated with hiring are defined, allocated and completed in time is working miraculously to affect employee retention. A 2019 report titled Trends and Applications in Employee Onboarding revealed that organizations with a clearly outlined onboarding process enjoyed 82% higher new employee retention as well as a 70% uptick in productivity. This makes sense when one considers that filling fifty forms before they get to their workstations isn’t exactly the kind of beginning today’s talent anticipates at a new job. Additionally, by relieving the HR and hiring managers from the manual and laborious tasks associated with onboarding, one can allow them to create more customized and personal welcome experiences for employees.
Aligning an organisation’s learning and development agenda with its employees’ needs is bound to fan the feeling that employers ‘get’ their aspirations. This is especially true in today’s time when skills are becoming obsolete in a matter of a few years. Because they realize that meaningful work matters to talent, successful organisations today communicate and substantiate clearly how an individual’s job directly affects the bottom line.
The crux of the matter is…
Rather than looking at the enhancement of employee experience as a liability, organisations will be best served to see it as an opportunity to work with highly motivated individuals who can make a difference. It’s also crucial to understand that while a great employee experience today might be technology-driven, it really is about making our workplaces more humane. Since every individual is designed to work in their own best interest, it makes sense for organisations to uncover these interests, water, feed and align them to organizational objectives so that they contribute to the growth of individuals as well as employers.
Employee screening gained traction quickly as many companies discovered to their chagrin that employee they hired based on qualifications, did not actually possess those. That's because many people tend to lie on their resume
When Ajay Trehan set up AuthBridge in 2005, he was way ahead of the times. After all, what was the need for a platform for background screening of employees? Cut to today. Gurugram-based AuthBridge, is the authentication technology company offering data-based decisions that is a contact point for many companies and individuals who seek not just employment screening but identity verification, partner due diligence and customer screening.
Employee screening gained traction quickly as many companies discovered to their chagrin that employee they hired based on qualifications, did not actually possess those. That's because many people tend to lie on their resume. Trehan mentions the classic case where a girl joined a company. It was when her performance did not match her qualifications that the company got AuthBridge to do a reference check on her. They discovered that it was a case of identity theft. She had taken on the identity of her twin sister who had been selected for the position but had died in the interim.
Trehan, CEO and Founder of AuthBridge says, "Businesses globally are forced to take tough calls. The emphasis is on spending every penny on constructive and trustworthy partnership - be it with employees, vendors, merchants, leaders, or customers."
AuthBridge is the first background verification companyin India to provide instant identity verification through Aadhar and PAN card.
While initially the focus was on employee verification, now the mandate is much wider. Trehan mentions the case of a drug screening in a Gurgaon-based BPO outfit. It was discovered that 100 out of the 150 employees screened were on locally available drugs. Trehan points out that human hair retains drug traces for 90 days.
As people are locked down during the pandemic, there has been a rise in online gaming. AuthBridge is assisting online gaming companies to verify the legal age of players. Using an API integration, AuthBridge provides instant identity and age verification powered by face match tech. It is also possible to bar players from areas where online gaming is banned using their geo-coordinates.
AuthBridge does this based on investments in advanced background check and onboarding technology rooted in AI and ML. Today it is possible to screen an individual's background in a few seconds using like Aadhaar or PAN. ID verification has gained importance as start-ups need to quickly hire hundreds of employees.
According to Authbridge's Annual Trend Report 2019 for Employee Background Screening, candidates between the ages of 30-44 are more likely to misrepresent their credentials. This is a trend observed every year which quite evidently suggests that up to a certain age, more the number of years of experience, more is the possibility of finding a misrepresented information. Also, it could be inferred that the incentive of fudging information is higher at certain stages of career.
We lines up some of the country’s top hiring executives and find out what they look for while selecting a candidate for a corporate role
Talent spotters now regard potential as one of the key employee attributes for hiring. How do you spot potential and passion during a job interview?
The traditional and obvious indicators of potential are a candidate’s academic record and past successes. Personality traits are strong indicators of key attributes like passion and potential. A discussion reveals their thought process, approach and ethics. Body language, confidence and even voice modulation tell us about what drives them. If a candidate is high on learning, they have potential.
What are some of the other essential attributes you look for in a job applicant?
I look for a combination of three things: Clarity of thought — How a person approaches a problem and how clearly can he/she explain her past work/ achievements/ struggles? The ability to break each into smaller parts while explaining and then building it up as a sum is important.
A strong, functional skill set — What are they bringing in terms of functionality and skills?
Academic and professional Journey — Not as a rejection criterion but as a reflection of choices and influences in their professional life. It is also a benchmark of their performance.
However, I’ve made a gut-based decision in contradiction to this criterion.
What are some of the common issues, which you confront in graduates while hiring?
Despite being bright, graduates lack vision and are impatient. Sometimes the sense of entitlement and disconnect with reality make them set unrealistic goals. They should invest more time in making themselves better suited to the dynamic world.
How crucial is a candidate’s domain knowledge when it comes to hiring and what is your experience on this front from campuses?
When hiring from campus it can be theoretical know-how of subjects. We can’t expect working knowledge from them.
What is the transitional change which a candidate has to be prepared for when entering the job market?
Unlike education, life is not compartmentalised into classes, subjects, exams, ranks etc. Candidates must be prepared that it is not just one exam but an ongoing performance at a functional and team level that matters.
The role of social media in hiring candidates
Social media can work in tandem with traditional hiring practices and not replace them.
How can a candidate make himself/herself valuable in their line of work?
Employees can add tremendous value by impacting the bottom line and by striving to be an irreplaceable spoke in the wheel of an organisation’s success.
How severe can the cost of making mistakes be on a professional level, as opposed to academics, where it can end with a little red circle?
You bear the consequences of academic mistakes but in the professional world, these can cost you, your company and your team members heavily. There is a difference between a mistake and a wrongdoing. Mistakes are pardonable whereas deliberately doing it to hurt the interest of employers is not.
The kind of technological, digital, and human revolution that we all envisaged for workplaces in the next 5-7 years is happening now. The future of work is here, and it has validated that employees are the most valued resource of a business.
The COVID-19 crisis has truly ushered us into VUCA times. Businesses across the world seem to have fallen off a cliff, collectively. In addition to the sudden nature of this crisis, the global togetherness in it is quite unprecedented. And as different in size, scale, and sector these businesses are, COVID 19 has been a great equalizer. It leaves every impacted business with only one choice – innovate your way out or cease to exist.
The good news is that humans are resilient beings, and we are slowly but surely making our way back up the cliff. Businesses have quickly put in innovative measures and new ways of operating in line with the changing world around us. These involve adapting to technology-based solutions facilitating remote work as well as to tech-powered platforms to operate, communicate, engage, and track performance remotely. The kind of technological, digital, and human revolution that we all envisaged for workplaces in the next 5-7 years is happening now. The future of work is here, and it has validated that employees are the most valued resource of a business.
Read Also:- Leveraging AI for verification and onboarding
With an increased clarity on the importance of employees must come to the acceptance that as businesses sail into unchartered waters, employees too will witness the biggest workplace transformation of their lifetimes. If, as employers, there’s a trait to have at this hour, it is empathy. Consistent and clear communication -what’s really happening, how we are all in this together and the efforts we are taking to overcome this situation -has worked equally well for us with employees as it has with clients.
New expectations and protocols have to be clearly laid down and the guidelines to follow them must be shared extensively. To prevent social distancing from turning into social isolation, HR teams must prioritize mental and physical well-being of their employees through virtual means. The post-pandemic world will see a low tolerance for businesses that are unwilling to invest in the health of their employees. Top talent, especially in profiles not tied to a place or machinery, could even look at gig-based employment or renegotiate working hours, work profile, payment terms etc. As new-age employers, we must be cognisant of these needs and empower and trust the talent to do right by the business.
What you then need is a completely digital infrastructure that can support such needs. Businesses must build tech-readiness in IT, HR support, payrolls, administration, and other departments. Everything that can be, should be moved online.
Preparing for a post-pandemic world
For businesses, I believe that the COVID 19 crisis is a push to finally move away from the ideal of a “disembodied and universal worker” whose needs are same across the spectrum and whose personal life is irrelevant to work.
The pandemic has shown us how to be more humane and how to trust and empower employees to work with minimal supervision. At AuthBridge , only 30% of our 1000+ workforce had laptops before COVID -19. Today, 100% of our workforce has been enabled to work remotely. And we achieved this within 2 weeks! As we continue to serve our clients seamlessly with the help of self-sufficient digital products and platforms built and deployed by our teams over the years, we have realized we were always ready. Could this leap have come under less dire circumstances? Maybe. The good news for us is that when we finally took it, we hit the ground running.
As we are discovering, the new world of work is not without its merits for employers. As they say, never waste a good crisis. This is the best time to build new capabilities, infuse grit and resilience in organizations and really identify processes, people, and systems essential for growth. It’s the best time to build a lean and mean organization – while hacking your way to growth. Do you really need that much of office space? What is the best way to evaluate virtual employee performance? Do you need new collaboration tools? How do you make remote working more secure? How do you serve your clients as effectively as before? Can some employees be reskilled or repositioned to contribute better? These are some of the questions that you must address before the world returns to normal.
COVID-19 will change our world drastically and irrevocably. Things will become worse, before becoming better. Some businesses with limited cash flow or cushioning will bite the dust. There will be job losses. Some industries might change forever. But amidst all that, I am convinced that we will discover humane workplaces, maverick leaders, self-driven employees, and innovation and growth that won’t leave employees behind. The new world of work is here.
Source: People Matters
BW people in interaction with Ajay Trehan, CEO, and Founder, AuthBridge throwing light on how "New-normal" would look like in terms of technology, hiring, and HR functions and how leaders need to adapt the changes to be the new leader in the new normal.
As of now, what is your definition of "New-Normal"?
Much is being said about the “new normal” these days. I have not seen a phrase become so popular, so quickly. To be honest, it is hard to define this ‘new-normal’ just yet. But we do have some indicators that point to what it will be like. For instance, work-from-home will be enforced and accepted by many organizations. Those who were reluctant earlier, either due to a mindset or technology roadblock, have now experienced it. In addition to tangible benefits like less expenditure on physical infrastructure, many organizations are also seeing an uptick in productivity. Some client-facing functions, like sales, will have to completely unlearn and learn newer ways of functioning. Physical office spaces, where they exist, will take additional measures for hygiene and social distancing – cafeteria spaces will be a lot different. Meetings will be different. Coffee breaks will be different. Most importantly, employees will ask for greater flexibility, more trust, and empathy from employers. Employee policies around engagement, commute, health, and more will need a fresher perspective in this light. Whatever final shape it takes, one thing is certain - the new normal will change the way we live, socialize and work.
Are you foreseeing automation coming into the industry?
Our clients are now feeling the need for technology and solutions and our recent conversations and interactions are pointing to a huge shift in the way we will operate going forward. At AuthBridge, we already have products for digital onboarding of employees, customers, vendors, agents, etc. Automating these processes not only helps save time, money, and resources and also increases accuracy and overall efficiency. Processes involved in onboarding and verification can be complex, especially due to the amount of customization involved. As I said before, for us, automation has been part of the system for some time. Our tech stack, powered by AI, ML, deep learning algorithms, E-sign, image recognition, geocoordinate mapping, and more make these processes simpler, faster, and more robust, efficient, and reliable. With the current situation, more players are expected to follow suit while industry adoption accelerates further.
Are we totally moving towards a contact-less world? How would the leaders in the industry manage Virtual verification processes?
I believe we were always moving towards a world where technology was increasingly reducing the barriers of distance, location, and time. COVID 19 has only accelerated the process. An unprecedented crisis, this pandemic has put the spotlight on the need to not only survive but thrive in a contact-less world, and it is no different for the verification industry. Fortunately for us, we, at AuthBridge, have long adopted a tech DNA that has led to automation across products, processes, and systems. To give you a few examples, an HR manager using our product, can verify and onboard a candidate without ever meeting them. Our end-to-end automated workflow solution for authentication iBridge™- makes this possible. Identifying a candidate, choosing aspects of the background to verify, collecting information and documents, actual validation and sharing of reports – activities that usually take weeks, sometimes even months to complete - are completed on iBridge in a few hours, digitally and without any physical contact at all. OCR, E-sign, image and facial recognition, geo-coordinate based digital address verification – All are part of our robust tech stack that empowers a modern recruiter to remain contact-less, and still, build trust with candidates.
How is the hiring industry taking shape? Is technology or AI playing a crucial role?
Hiring as we all know has slowed down currently due to this crisis, but a bounce-back is inevitable. We are already seeing a revival in a few major sectors. The big change, however, will be the reduced usage of conventional physical workspaces, which also means a fundamental shift in the interview, verification, and onboarding processes. Earlier, technology was being used as an enabler, assisting the physical process. Now, Technology will be the driving force – replacing the physical process, and AI will be a crucial part of this change. AI is already being used for resume parsing, application sorting, initial assessment, psychometric evaluation, learning & development, and more. Going forward we will see it’s usage in Video Interview processes, facial recognition, feedback, real-time sentiment analysis as well. Our AI-based verification technology has yielded exciting results already. What used to take us weeks, now gets done in a matter of seconds. With the amount of data that is now flowing through systems worldwide, AI, in my opinion, will become a de-facto technology feature in the times to come.
How will technology support HRs to mark the productivity of the employees?
The coming times will lead us to completely new ways around how organizations will operate. We will see adoption & innovation of remote technologies, new workplace designs, new use cases for office spaces, and so on. Work-from-home will become a norm and will demand newer ways to analyze and track employee productivity. There will be two parts to this. One will be the technology that employees will use for their work. Virtual platforms for easy video and audio based communication with and between employees, Time tracking software, cloud-based data & document repositories, virtual collaboration, and sharing tools all will become essential for employee productivity. The second part will be the revised goals and targets. HR teams will need to guide managers to set up revised organizational values, goals, and targets that not only keep the new normal in mind but are also tangible and trackable. Both of these put together will help set and track the productivity of remote employees. Finding ways to establish trust while employees work remotely will be one of the top challenges as well as markers of success for HR going forward.
What is that one powerful quote you keep reminding yourself especially in tough times?
Tough times do not last, tough people do. It is a principle I have tried to build my life on and one that sustained me through the ups and downs of my entrepreneurial journey. Tough times are the best testament of our character and they teach as much about ourselves as about others. This pandemic remains unprecedented and will change the world like never before, but I am certain we will find a way to emerge stronger by harnessing our collective grit. As Churchill famously said, “We have not journeyed all this way because we are made of sugar candy.”
COVID 19 has been an eye-opener for businesses globally. Organizations have been pushed to quickly adopt new ideas and processes while building capabilities at an overwhelming pace. This humongous scale of urgent innovation to remain operational begets an important question for the HR industry – Are we finally amid the fabled Recruitment Technology revolution?
Fortunately, at AuthBridge, we have long worked towards a tech-led future of the HR industry. Over the years, we have consistently invested in AI-backed digital solutions and technology that streamlines verification and onboarding journeys for a modern recruiter. Consequently, as industry leaders, we find ourselves ahead of the curve when it comes to automation of HR functions.
What is the role of AI in verification?
One of the main use cases of AI in recruitment is data-based, intelligent decisioning. The verification industry, dealing in humungous volumes of data, can bring drastic improvements to the quality, speed and efficiency of its solutions using AI in combination with automation.
Here, our approach towards criminal verification in India makes for an interesting example. Earlier, the only way to know about the criminal background of a candidate was through local police and law firms. Apart from it being a slow process, the risk of a candidate committing a crime in states other than that of residence and domicile was a gaping hole in the process. The only foolproof solution – checking publicly available court records for a criminal record of a candidate – also fell short of resolving issues like inconsistent structuring of records, name and address formats as well as linguistic barriers. This is how Vault™, our proprietary database of negative records and the core of our criminal verification solution, came into being.
Vault™ incorporates data mining, supervised learning, regression analysis and deep search algorithms to look for matches of criminal history at a pan India level. How does it do so? After a candidate’s name and address are entered on Vault™, our proprietary AI engine searches for various sets of permutations and combinations of that name and address against datasets from 3500+ courts, Police FIRs, Crime Watchlists and thousands of tribunals across India. It scans 200+ million records and comes up with the best possible matches (along with a probability score) in just a few seconds. Without AI, this search would have been impossible to conduct! Our AI engine helps us makes sense of an extremely unstructured and non-standardized dataset while providing instant results. And as Vault™ is being exposed to new data sets, our Machine Learning algorithms are making our probability scores increasingly accurate.
Our suite of AI and ML tech also includes OCR, which we use for document classification, tampering and counterfeiting detection and variations in manufacturing. We also use facial recognition technology to instantly verify the identity of a candidate. These technologies work behind the scenes, and our clients are delivered comprehensible workflows for each check and detailed reports on our easy-to-use web platform iBridge™. This seamless interaction for clients further translates into a great onboarding experience for their candidates.
Towards the future
AI-based verification and onboarding solutions are the future and we all can look towards the BFSI sector for inspiration. At AuthBridge, we are increasingly seeing our BFSI clients relying heavily on OCR and facial recognition to generate face match scores, Digital KYC and Video KYC for customer verification. We’ve been able to reduce the TAT for these clients from five days to real-time. With COVID 19, the age of remote work, contact-less processes and virtual workplaces is here. Our clients in the HR fraternity are already stepping up their game and I am quite sure that as the threat of COVID 19 recedes, many of these AI-led processes and systems will become the norm.