User Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA)

User Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA)

What is UEBA and why is it important?

UEBA, or User Entity Behavior Analytics, is a type of security technology that uses machine learning algorithms to identify unusual or suspicious user behavior within an organization’s network. This can include unusual login activity, unauthorized access to sensitive data and unfamiliar communication patterns.

UEBA is an essential tool to detect and prevent cyberattacks and insider threats. It can help organizations to identify potentially malicious behavior that may not be detected by traditional security measures such as firewalls and antivirus software.

Why do enterprises need to rethink their network security?

UEBA analyzes the behavior of users and entities (such as devices and applications) within an organization’s network. It uses machine learning algorithms to build a baseline of normal behavior and then continuously monitors activity to identify deviations from this baseline.

For example, UEBA will flag a user who typically logs in from a specific location and accesses a small number of files, but suddenly begins logging in from a different location and accessing many sensitive files. From a security perspective, this could indicate that the user’s account has been compromised or that they are attempting to access sensitive information for which they do not have authorization.

UEBA can also detect unfamiliar communication patterns, such as a user who regularly communicates with a few individuals but suddenly begins communicating with many external parties. This could indicate that the user is attempting to exfiltrate data or engage in other malicious activity.

Benefits of using UEBA

1. Automated security data analysis The UEBA tool collects and processes numerous logs of daily user and entity activities and events inside the organization’s network.

2. Early threat detection – The UEBA tool can recognize changes in user and entity behavior before they breach security rules.

3. Automated threat response When the UEBA tool detects suspicious activity, it will alert security officials or respond to it automatically by blocking the process, user or entity behind that activity.

4. Early threat detection – The UEBA tool can recognize changes in user and entity behavior before they breach security rules.

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Things to consider before implementing UEBA

1. Building a baseline of user behavior takes time – The UEBA solution isn’t efficient out of the box, as it needs to be trained on customized user behavior datasets before it starts detecting threats.


2. Specific knowledge needed to prepare datasets – Teams will need to spend some time studying dataset preparation or get assistance from an external AI expert.

3. Poor detection of ‘slow-cooking’ attacks – Some malicious insiders prefer to take their time to prepare for an attack. For example, they can access and copy sensitive data on a daily basis over a period of time. In this case, the UEBA tool may not consider these actions as suspicious because they are usual for that particular user.

4. A costly investments – Configuring, training and integrating the UEBA tool with other cybersecurity tools will take a lot of time and effort.


The UEBA tool provides a proactive mechanism to continuously monitor activity within an organization’s network, identify unusual or suspicious user behavior and prevent cyberattacks through machine learning algorithms. To leverage the benefits of UBEA, both business and technology functions should decide on goals, expectations, and put together a team that can fully utilize the tool for maximum results.

Shehan Franciscu
Intern – Security Operations

The Zero Trust approach to Cyber Security

The Zero Trust approach to Cyber Security

Given the higher volume and velocity of cyberattacks owing to an increasingly hybrid workforce, enterprises must always be prepared to protect their data in the event of an attack. The Zero Trust approach to cybersecurity has become one of the most popular means of safeguarding communications and data.

Why do enterprises need to rethink their network security?

The traditional approach to cybersecurity was to identify and implement specific remedies to defend against every potential danger and attack. To achieve this, organizations have deployed a variety of solutions, such as Web Application Firewalls (WAFs), firewalls for network security and end-point protection for malware. According to an independent study by IBM, today’s businesses have implemented an average of 45 security solutions across their networks. This traditional method creates a security gap in interoperability between tools. Moreover, there are unnecessary overlaps between multiple devices or software each being paid for through its own licensing – simply put, too many solutions from too many vendors.

Why do enterprises need to rethink their network security?

Cybersecurity relies on trust. As technologies evolve, new ways of trusting connections/users/devices emerge, either directly or indirectly. As a result, different scenarios require different levels of trust. For example, internal users/devices are granted access to organizational resources based on “implicit trust”, but secure defenses prohibit external users/devices from accessing resources within the perimeter. However, this makes the entire domain more complex and thereby easier for attackers to exploit loopholes in the system.

The traditional model of physical security no longer applies as businesses rapidly evolve. Remote and hybrid workforces are the new trend in modern business, where employees can work from anywhere in the world. Additionally, cloud computing environments are growing and becoming popular places to host applications, data storage, and other IT assets. As there are no well-defined physical boundaries to ensure security, network administrators must rely on explicit trust between local users and remote networks and devices.

Therefore, we need a framework to ensure the security of modern enterprises against volatile cyberattacks.  Implementing the Zero Trust approach has never been more critical.

What is Zero-Trust

“Trust no one, not even your end users” – Forrester Research

In layman’s terms, Zero Trust (ZT) is the new cybersecurity paradigm that mandates trust is never granted implicitly but must be continually evaluated and imposed explicitly. With this approach, a user/device has to earn the trust of a system after continuous authentication/authorization regardless of their location.

In this context, internal users are treated the same as users outside the network. Being in a public cloud environment does not change the way microservices communicate with each other. They are given the same level of trust as a set of applications communicating in a private or on-premises network, and each connection is always evaluated against all rules.

A Zero Trust environment cannot be implemented overnight. It is a gradual transformation where every step of a digital transaction is validated using various security implementations. These implementations adhere to a standard set of rules set by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Some examples of these implementations are Identity and Access Management (IAM), Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), Micro-segmentation, and DevOps. Migrating business processes into these implementations is one way to implement Zero Trust.

Benefits of Zero Trust

According to a Statista survey, 30% of companies have already begun to roll out Zero Trust security solutions, and 42% plan to do so in the near future.

Some benefits of implementing the Zero Trust security model are as follows:

  • Focus on proactively implementing security solutions as a strategic business objective, rather than implementing on a per-use case.
  • End-to-end organizational security of identity/access/workloads spanning across users, applications, and infrastructure.
  • A proper inventory of users, devices, applications, and services will be beneficial for an organization’s auditing and performance planning.
  • Gain access and identity control over cloud and container environments when moving to hybrid/multi-cloud architectures.
  • Reduced risk of a data breach with the principle of least privilege.
  • Improved monitoring and alerting of cyberattacks.


Adapting this framework is not without its challenges. Identifying business processes with the lowest risk of failure during the transition to a Zero Trust architecture is the first step towards migrating critical entities over time. Check out our next article to learn more about Zero Trust security, which focuses on an end-to-end approach to establishing enterprise resource and data security.

Anupa Wijegunawardana
Engineer – Cyber Security

Marching Towards Cyber Security Mesh Architecture

Marching Towards Cyber Security Mesh Architecture

Today’s enterprises operate in a distributed manner, with assets and workforce scattered across the world. Owing to this, technology deployment and management have changed over the years. Networks have become distributed; applications are hosted on cloud services and the number of remote employees is rapidly increasing. It is clear that fully centralized IT networks are slowly but surely moving toward extinction. Similarly, the cyberattack vector is growing rapidly, and cybercrimes are finding new and increasingly sophisticated ways to steal data and disrupt business operations. After all, a walled city cannot protect its people when they are roaming outside of it.

Before Cyber Security Mesh

The traditional approach to cybersecurity was to identify and implement specific remedies to defend against every potential danger and attack. To achieve this, organizations have deployed a variety of solutions, such as Web Application Firewalls (WAFs), firewalls for network security and end-point protection for malware. According to an independent study by IBM, today’s businesses have implemented an average of 45 security solutions across their networks. This traditional method creates a security gap in interoperability between tools. Moreover, there are unnecessary overlaps between multiple devices or software each being paid for through its own licensing – simply put, too many solutions from too many vendors.

What is Cyber Security Mesh Architecture (CSMA)?

When addressing these challenges, we had to change our style of managing projects and teams as follows:


Cybersecurity Mesh Architecture (CSMA) is a concept developed by Gartner to help companies move beyond the protection of traditional IT perimeters to a more collaborative and flexible approach to security. CSMA is a fundamental support layer that enables various security services to collaborate, creating a dynamic security environment. It also promotes coordination and interoperability between products, which leads to a more integrated security policy. It takes less time to build, maintain and eliminate the possibility of security deadends that cannot serve future demands. Cybersecurity technologies are deployed through CSMA; each device will be added to the network as an integrated, carefully planned part of a consolidated security posture. A cybersecurity mesh is also defined by Gartner as a distributed architectural approach to flexible, scalable and reliable cybersecurity control.


CSMA provides four foundational layers that make it possible for various security controls and solutions to cooperate with one another and make deployment, configuration and maintenance easier.

The four layers are as follows:

  • Security analytics and intelligence
  • This layer is responsible for accurately gathering data from threat resources. CSMA will develop a rapid threat response strategy based on data security tools such as SIEM and SOAR that can analyze potential threats.
  • Distributed identity fabric
  • This layer is responsible for providing identity and access management, an essential component of a Zero Trust strategy.
  • Consolidated policy and posture management
  • This layer is responsible for managing and enforcing consistent security policies across different environments. CSMA translates the central cybersecurity policy into the foundational framework for every security solution or can offer dynamic runtime authorization services.
  • Consolidated dashboards
    • Having to switch between numerous dashboards from different security vendors or tools decreases the effectiveness of security operations. Using an integrated dashboard, CSMA provides a composite view of the complete security architecture e platforms.

Key features of CSMA

Several CSMA features, including the following, will result in enhanced flexibility, agility and an overall stronger security posture for an enterprise:

  • Ease of implementation
    • CSMA is ideal to simplify and streamline design, deployment and maintenance.
  • Practicality
    • CSMA is a more practical architecture to protect digital assets hosted outside the traditional network perimeter.
  • Zero security gaps
    • Enterprises can address security gaps caused by flaws and vulnerabilities in various solutions by utilizing existing and developing security standards.
  • Agility
    • CSMA has the advantage of making an organization’s detection and response to security threats more agile.
  • Future friendly
    • CSMA supports future expansion by utilizing plug-in APIs to easily enable extensions, customization, analytics and compliance with new regulations and standards.

How different vendors approach CSMA

Several cybersecurity vendors have “CSMA-like” approaches that can provide benefits of scale and cost to an extent. However, they have the potential for vendor lock-in due to a lack of interoperability.

  • Fortinet Security Fabric: Designed to manage the entire digital attack surface, while reducing risks by eliminating vulnerabilities and gaps in security.
  • Checkpoint Infinity: Provides consolidated security across an organization’s entire IT environment, enabling centralized security management and integrated threat prevention and response.


According to Gartner’s strategic assumption, “By 2024, organizations adopting a cybersecurity mesh architecture will reduce the financial impact of individual security incidents by an average of 90%.”

It is clear that traditional security approaches are failing to fulfill fast-evolving and demanding cybersecurity requirements. However, many enterprises remain stuck with traditional cyber security methods. Larger enterprises with complicated IT systems (such as banks and government organizations) have invested heavily in several security solutions to individually protect each asset in their environment. Cybersecurity Mesh Architecture (CSMA) contributes to the creation of a unified, integrated security framework for all assets, whether on-premises, in data centers or on the cloud. Through standardizing the communication between security solutions, CSMA enables standalone security products to coordinate and interoperate, increasing overall security.

Anuka Jinadasa
Associate Engineer – Cyber Security

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Project management in the COVID-19 era

Project management in the COVID-19 era

The challenges we faced…

The COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to rethink their business models and shift to remote working or a work from home (WFH) format. While facing a global crisis situation like no other, they also had to learn on-the-go to steer their businesses through this style of working. As project managers (PM), we too shifted to the WFH model, but navigating it came with the following challenges:

  • Our modes of communication were limited to calls, emails and WhatsApp messages, which was a challenge in itself. In the pre-COVID era, we conducted meetings with teams, clients and stakeholders in-person. This helped the PM form the right team, understand customer requirements better and discuss feasible methods of project execution. Similarly, it helped the customer to better understand the project progression, from planning to execution.
  • Owing to the new health protocols put in place, our technical teams could not visit operations sites, locally or overseas, for the installation and configuration of hardware.
  • While our technical teams would usually work on-site at the customer’s location, the pandemic brought about new rules and regulations on a nation level, as well as by some customers. For example, some businesses restricted access to outsiders. Our teams had to improvise or obtain special permissions to utilize customers’ VPN connectivity in order to directly link to their systems and servers.
  • There was an urgent need to create dedicated workspaces in our homes to conduct official online meetings.
  • We were obligated to arrange special transportation for critical technical teams to visit client sites during the mandatory lockdowns.
  • Office access was granted for certain project teams in order to obtain the necessary equipment for their work.
  • Printing of project documentation was done using office printers to maintain quality, while binding and transporting them to customers was also done in-house.
  • We had to obtain digital signatures from customers and project teams for project documentation.
  • Coordinating overall team activities to work as a single unit became a task in itself.

How we overcame these challenges?

It was a challenge to adopt to this new way of working overnight in March 2020. We had to navigate the country’s restrictions on movements and adhere to changing health guidelines, which was something entirely new for us. Here are some actions we took to overcome the challenges:

  • We conducted daily meetings and stand-ups with the project teams, and had frequent online discussions and phone conversations with our respective subgroups to monitor project tasks.
  • We were able to obtain special approval from customers to visit them onsite for location-based implementations. Our company also required us to keep track of visits to external sites via a new contact tracking system.
  • The technical team required VPN connectivity in some cases, which was duly provided by the customers as the best safety net for the employees of both companies. In other cases where VPN permissions were not obtained due to critical secure systems, we were able to organize isolated spaces within the premises for our resources to work on the project.
  • With the assistance of our transportation team, we arranged special transport for some individuals during the lockdown, and the contact tracking system was maintained.
  • The company provided clearance for key resources to visit certain sites for critical projects with assistance from the customer.
  • Staff within the office premises assisted us in many tasks, from obtaining the necessary hardware to printing and binding project documents.
  • We learned to adapt to using modern communication tools extensively to connect with our teams, as well as customers.

How did you change your management style to adapt to WFH?

When addressing these challenges, we had to change our style of managing projects and teams as follows:

  • Changes in the mode of communication from in-person and direct to online and distant, including adopting various audio and video communication tools.
  • Managing customers from a distance.
  • Working on operational tasks such as procurement, delivery of hardware, project expenses, etc, from home.
  • Delivering status reports to client sponsors via online communication tools such as MS Teams, Cisco Webex or WeMeeting.
  • Learning to manage all our daily office activities from one location.
  • Adapting to and using new processes for online client meetings, including using a single corporate background.
  • Organizing training and knowledge sharing sessions for stakeholders via online platforms.

Advantages of WFH?

Gayathri Perera
Senior Project Manager – Delivery & Customer Success

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The Perfect Fit: The CIO-CFO Relationship

The Perfect Fit: The CIO-CFO Relationship

A company’s management strives for synergistic value creation yet, working together doesn’t come easy: it requires constant effort and mutual understanding.

When considering a Chief Information Officer (CIO) and a Chief Finance Officer (CFO), the former is known to look at an innovative outlook and the latter is expected to look at a realistic one.

Imagine this: A CIO comes up with an innovative digital solution to address company’s problems. It’s seamless in integration, superior in quality, faultless in performance, rich in detail and simply, perfect. Still, when the financial approval is sought, the CFO may reject it because it’s too costly, too over-the-top and seems to be a mountain of a solution when the requirement is a molehill. Sounds familiar?

CIOs sometimes struggle to communicate the ROI of IT projects, as well as priorities, costs, commitments, and cash flows. Still, their knowledge and experience of technological solutions and their network of technology partners are priceless. CFOs often consider IT as an expensive budget item and therefore look to cut any cost they deem unnecessary.

Most CIOs are aspirational in their thinking; they seek the perfect solution and look at the future. CFOs, on the other hand, stand by the principle of “earn the right to spend” and place priority on ROI which can often be overlooked or oversimplified by CIOs.

This clash in philosophy often results in grudges, preconceived biases and ultimately, blocking the pathways for the company’s progress in the digital world.

Working to make the CFO-CIO relationship work

There are several strategies to weave a mutually beneficial CFO-CIO relationship into the fabric of organizational success.

1. Communicate effectively 

Communications don’t just mean exchanging words but also understanding personalities, respecting perceptions and accepting attitudes.

2. Mutually sharing organizational objectives and strategies

CFOs have good visibility into their organization’s objectives and key metrics, which could be shared with CIOs to develop technological contributions in achieving them since they have a good understanding of the organization’s IT potential.

Similarly, CIOs have a good vision of the technological landscape of the industry, which could be shared with CFOs to understand the true potential of the organization and show the pathway of achieving the objectives.  This level of mutual sharing will help inculcate finance and technology into business solutions from the initial stages, resulting in more strategic solutions over tactical fixes.

3. Create efficient and automated processes 

In many organizations, finance teams are still overwhelmed with manual tasks. Legacy systems – or simply MS Excel worksheets – are still favored over ERP systems and other advanced processes.

This traditional mindset has normalized slow speeds in organizational accounting, which sometimes justify why many companies release last month’s results in the middle of the following month!

The criticality of data-based solutions is still a novelty in many companies, hindering progress and resulting in slower and thereby less effective decision-making.

A good relationship between CFO and CIO will help instill better and more efficient processes while managing and overcoming resistance to change. With two teams working in tandem towards the unified objective of efficiency, legacy systems and manual workloads can be replaced by digitally advanced solutions that create a competitive edge. More importantly, when Finance and IT work together with mutual trust and confidence in each other, process automation can be achieved seamlessly and at a fraction of the time it will otherwise take.

4. Use of technology to enable insights 

Data is the currency of success.

Both CFOs and CIOs carry a gamut of data that can be used in analytics and insight generation to drive business performance. When shared, these sets of data become a treasure trove of information.

Having the right data at the right time is crucial for business success. So, nurturing a good relationship with a team that has the data you need is a simple formula for success.

CIOs and CFOs working together to orchestrate data across the organization generates critical business insights that drive strategic responses.

 5. Technology that brings strong ROI

CFOs always want to see higher ROI from IT investments while CIOs might struggle to prioritize projects that bring tangible business outcomes and higher ROI. Therefore, collaboration is essential whenever an investment decision is required.

When seeking approval for an investment, many IT teams find it challenging to talk to finance teams since they focus on qualitative factors while the other seeks quantitative angles. This results in a clash and subsequent rejection. Yet if both teams can compile a joint business proposal, getting Board approval becomes easy and mutual.

While there are many industry-specific use cases, the following are some generic data analytics use cases that affect revenue and cost, directly or indirectly.

The future of the IT and Finance relationship

For too long, we’ve seen companies having divided fronts in terms of its IT and finance functions. However, with organizations increasingly focusing on holistic business operations and unified direction, moving away from siloed and functional mindsets is crucial.

Collaboration, coordination and communication with mutual respect and trust – that’s the formula CIOs and CFOs must brew to create the perfect fit, with common objectives, to make the organization ready for next digital transformation.

Dinuka Perera
CFO / Vice President – Finance & Supply Chain

Realizing the Value of Data

Realizing the Value of Data

One of the primary goals of a business is to increase profit. In its simplest form, profit growth can be achieved by increasing revenue and reducing costs. Yet in reality, these could be complex interdependent functions and therefore organizations need to take a closer look to understand the revenue and cost structures and their relationships to manipulate these parameters carefully and increase profit.

There are multiple ways to model profit. An organization should find ways to increase income while protecting the existing revenue, thereby contributing to an increase in profit. An organization should also find ways of reducing costs and avoiding future costs to increase overall profits further. Businesses should strive to achieve sustainable profit growth in the long term, and to that end, data analytics can play a significant part.

Value Framework to Increase Profit

Realizing the Value of Data by Implementing the Right Use Cases

Mapping the above framework to data analytics, an organization can implement multiple use cases affecting revenue and cost to realize the value of data to increase profit.

While there are many industry-specific use cases, the following are some generic data analytics use cases that affect revenue and cost, directly or indirectly.

Data Analytics Use Cases Affecting Revenue

Data Analytics Use Cases Affecting Cost

Some of the above data analytics use cases affect both revenue and cost simultaneously thereby strongly affecting profit. Organizations can identify such use cases and prioritize implementing those to realize the maximum value of data. Such sample use cases are described below.

Use Case 1: Power of Personalization with Targeted Campaigns

Customers expect intelligent communications from brands that are personalized to individual preferences.

91% of consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them.”

Source: Accenture, Personalization Pulse Check 2018

52% of consumers are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t make an effort to personalize communications to them.”

Source: Salesforce Research, State of Marketing 4th Edition

Targeted campaigns are a way of providing personalized offers to customers and one that has consistently proven to improve the campaign results. They can directly increase revenue by delighting the customer with relevant offers leading to more purchases. Targeted campaigns can also indirectly preserve current revenue via protecting the existing customer base by providing excellent service, appealing offers leading to increased customer affinity and reduced churn rates. It can also reduce costs through improved productivity through streamlined and automated target campaign rollouts reducing manual intervention.

The following figure depicts how targeted campaigns can directly and indirectly affect the revenue and costs of the organization.

Use Case 2: Power of Recommendation with Recommendation Engine

Recommendation engines have been an essential factor to the success of digital platforms such as Alibaba, Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify. The Recommender System is not just a marketing tool to increase sales but also a platform to provide insights and promote customer engagement to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, thus increasing customer lifetime value and business growth.

80% of Netflix’s Viewer activity is driven by recommendation engine.”

1 Billion USD is saved through reduced churn by Netflix recommendation engine.”

35% of Amazon’s sales are generated by their recommendation engine.”

Source: Business Insider

Recommendation engines can directly increase the revenue streams of a business by providing relevant purchasing advice and delighting customers, leading to more purchases. It can also increase customer affinity and reduce customer churn thereby protecting the existing revenue base. It also reduces the cost of operation by increasing productivity and automating the process of instantaneously providing intelligent recommendations to the user without manual intervention.

The following figure depicts how implementing a Recommender System can affect the revenue and cost of a business in direct and indirect ways.

Use Case 3: Power of Prediction with Predictive Maintenance

In the environment of industry 4.0, predicting machine failures by analyzing and modeling IOT sensory data along with other related data points using advanced analytics techniques is a real use case that can add value to the business. Knowing well ahead that a machine would fail can avoid unplanned downtimes, prevent outages in the factory operation and increase productivity.

“Predictive maintenance typically reduces machine downtime by 30 to 50% and increases machine life by 20 to 40%.

Source: McKinsey Industrial Analytics

“Predictive maintenance increases productivity by 25%, reduces breakdowns by 70% and lowers maintenance costs by 25%.

Source: Deloitte Predictive Maintenance Position Paper

Predictive maintenance of machinery can increase the productivity of the operation by reducing unplanned machine maintenance costs, improving machine lifetime and running the machines at their optimum conditions. It can also avoid future costs associated with sudden machine breakdowns that require unplanned break fixes and maintenance of machines, loss of production due to machine downtime and machine replacement due to poor maintenance of machines. In addition, it ensures smooth operation of 24×7 production in the factory, thus enabling the organization to fulfil customer orders on time thereby increasing customer satisfaction, service excellence and loyalty.

The following figure depicts how predictive maintenance use cases can directly and indirectly affect the revenue and cost of the business operation.

The use cases described above may have industry-specific versions that can differently impact the revenue and cost. However, the generic use cases are taken to elaborate on their impact on both the revenue and costs.

In summary, value creation by data analytics use cases can be assessed by looking at the impact they make on the revenue streams and cost structures of the business. This influence can be direct or indirect but ultimately impacts the bottom line of the business in the short term and long term in a sustainable manner. Furthermore, certain data analytics use cases can simultaneously affect both the revenue and cost to improve the bottom line of the business, hence these use cases should be implemented on priority basis to harness the maximum value out of data.

Poornika Wickramasuriya
Associate Director – Data Science

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TRANSFORMING POST-COVID OFFICE EXPERIENCE: MIT ESP kickstarts the evolution of digitalized working with “Post Pandemic Smart Offices”

TRANSFORMING POST-COVID OFFICE EXPERIENCE: MIT ESP kickstarts the evolution of digitalized working with “Post Pandemic Smart Offices”

The pandemic has compelled millions of workers to work from home, converting many offices into ghost spaces. Yet with the virus receding, the question of returning to work is rearing its hopeful head. 

Pandemic-induced remote working arrangements have shed light on several opportunities for businesses to relook at how they run offices. Skyrocketing rent, increasing energy costs, steep internet bills, and car parking limitations are just some of the challenges companies have to overcome in today’s corporate landscape. Remote working helps alleviate many of these, but the picture is far from rosy. While research supports working from home, it also shows that employees and employers are valuing office-based work: PWC’s US Remote Work Survey (2021) revealed that for 87% of employees the office is important for collaborating with team members and building relationships.

Going forward, offices will be smaller and smarter. Companies will opt for office spaces that accommodate half or less of their workforce, and hot seats will become the only seats available. However, the real transformation is the emergence of Post-Pandemic Smart Offices – workspaces that use technology to improve productivity, with the added emphasis of ensuring safety, well-being, and social distancing of its workers. 

This inevitable trend is already taking shape, with future-focused companies already investing in smart offices. Gartner (2020) predicted that by 2022, 60% of hybrid workers will prioritize a wellness-equipped smart office over a remote office. The smart office market, which was valued at USD 33.53 billion in 2020 is expected to reach USD 67.69 billion by 2026, driven by the rise in demand for intelligent office solutions, energy efficiency infrastructure, IoT, and safety at the workplace.

For MIT ESP (MillenniumIT ESP), smart offices are the next step of the natural progression of workspaces. We are already designing smart building solutions for companies looking at future-proofing their operations.

What advantages does a smart office bring to a business? 

  • Safety-first

Smart offices are the ideal solution to ensure employees’ health, safety and wellbeing. These wellness-centric offices will enable the seamless ‘reservation’ of workstations from a simple mobile app that employees can use as their workspace remote control. This same app can be integrated to your building management system to reserve rooms, schedule meetings, allocate parking slots and book hardware like scanners. With motion and heat sensors in place, employees will know peak and off-peak times to avoid crowds or come to work with their team members. Thanks to IoT-enabled monitoring, their apps will also remind them to maintain social distance in crowded spaces.

  • Smart tracking

The smart office concept will also enable companies to use GPS signals to geolocate employees. In the case of an infection, the company will be able to use the data to track immediate contacts and notify them.

  • Flexible working models

Companies can opt for various work models such as the Clubhouse concept where employees meet, socialize and collaborate at the office and return home to work, or Activity-based working where employees come to work but don’t have designated spaces. In addition, companies can also operate co-working spaces to convert idle workstations into revenue-generating real estate.

  • Cost-efficient office spaces

Embracing the smart office concept translates into cost optimization since companies are able to manage air conditioning, lighting, shading, access control, and security (to name a few) via IoT-enabled infrastructure, all seamlessly connected to an integrated building management platform. This use-only-what-you-want concept is simple to implement and manage from a single control center, while saving cost. 

  • A new level of contactless work

Working can be made completely contactless using near-field communications instead of key cards to give employees access to the building, meeting rooms and even when purchasing food from the office canteen. With the entire building management system, including employees’ emails, connected to a simple mobile app, communications will be seamless, effective, and real-time. 

  • Smart = Sustainable

Corporates opting for smart office spaces reduce their environmental footprint much more effectively than those that run traditional offices. With reduced energy usage, companies will effortlessly kickstart their carbon-neutral journey thanks to IOT sensors that automatically switch on and off air-conditioning units, lights and other equipment.

  • Enhanced employee experiences

In addition to making office spaces safer and more efficient, smart offices will also enhance employee experiences like never before. Booking workstations near team members, adjusting lighting and heating according to personal preference, unlocking personal lockers, and connecting phone lines as you take your seat, and even arranging your personal photos in your digital desk photo frames are all possible, to ensure that employees have a great reason to come to work. 

MIT ESP believes that smart offices are here to stay. Having implemented Smart Building solutions for a range of clients, including integrated mixed use development projects in Sri Lanka to prestigious hospitality solution providers in the Maldives to name a few, we have the expertise, skills and technology to make any building a ‘smart’ building. MIT ESP is offering Smart Building solutions that integrate all modern IP-based ELV systems to corporate clients, hospitality providers, residential units, and anyone looking at embracing the future of spaces.

With the ability to tailor-make smart building solutions that cater to its clients’ unique and discerning needs, MIT ESP is ready to help corporates create healthy co-working spaces to convert offices into corporate real estate that supports a company’s wellness objectives whilst empowering employees, optimizing costs and enabling sustainability. 

Rajith Rangajeewa
Director – Smart Buildings
MillenniumIT ESP

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Unlock the Power of Business Agility via Cloud – Part 2

Unlock the Power of Business Agility via Cloud – Part 2

In the last article (Part 1) we focused on what agility is and why cloud can be an accelerator of agility. The fundamental nature of the public cloud can be levied to increase momentum in the operational process at any scale, in any business. More companies are now starting to herald cloud as a catalyst of innovation and digital transformation, especially due to its ability to support speedy product development with limitless on-demand scalability.

In this section, we focus on how to leverage the actual potential of the cloud.

Agility is part and parcel of cloud

In 2014, HBR Analytic Services conducted a survey titled “Business Agility in Cloud.” The results showed that 71% of companies have implemented cloud to reduced complexities in IT and business process management. Cost, quicker DevOps and DevTests, and minimized risk are the obvious benefits of cloud. Yet strategic goals like becoming the market leader, adopting an innovative culture, instilling continuous R&D, and inculcating an engaged and productive workforce are now the primary reasons companies are looking at when adopting cloud.

Let’s deep dive into 5 ways how the above are delivered through cloud.

1. Multi-Cloud Orchestration – Why limit to one when you can unleash your potential using different Cloud Service Providers?

Yes, the push for enterprise agility is strong but there is also parallel effort for applications which require specialized, fit-for-purpose infrastructure. Avoid vendor lock-in while focusing on cost-performance ratio. For example, you may use AWS spot instances to secure compute capacity at the lowest price, but you also have the option of using low priority VMs on Azure or preemptible instances on GCP to get the best price when spot instances become expensive. With the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning, engineers focus on leveraging large farms of GPUs for data crunching and, therefore, are actively looking at SaaS offerings that can be deployed on different public cloud environments. Standardization is what makes applications and data to be portable and accessible across the cloud.

2. Hybridization – Keep your finance team happy.

Research by VMware and EMC found out hybrid cloud can lower your typical infrastructure cost to as low as 25%. Hybrid clouds offer lower IT spending through virtualization and consolidation, optimized workload sourcing and provisioning, and better throughput in application development and maintenance processes.

Economic benefit of hybrid cloud (Source: VMware).

In Sri Lanka, hybrid cloud deployments are primarily seen in regulated environments like government organizations and the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) sector. This is not only due to rigorous regulatory frameworks around data security and compliance, but also due to massive investments in legacy environments within the data center. With hybrid environments, the inherent benefits of cloud such as scalability, elasticity and availability, are accessible. So, why stop at the gates of legacy datacenters?

3. Understand the Economics – Give your shareholders a good night’s sleep.

During the beginning of the cloud era, it made sense for the IT department to be the gatekeeper and develop its own understanding and measurement of the technology infrastructure and related financials. However, many IT departments today do not know the cost of tech for specific applications or line-of-business usage. This is not possible to undertake in an ecosystem of heterogeneous silos of technology. Cloud technology dictates that IT departments must grow to be better informed and answerable for knowing actual costs, allocation models, correct chargebacks, and other relevant aspects.

4. Cloud and Data – Unlimited storage unfolds a love story like no other.

Data has been growing in an unprecedented manner. While the majority are unstructured, some are unsolicited as well. Businesses have understood the impact of data-driven decisions and the need for utilizing analytics to process these insurmountable sources. Be it a lift-and-shift of a traditional Big Data platform or a modernization of on-prem ERP/ SAP HANA, cloud provides flexibility for your data strategy. Also, maintaining large data pools in cloud has become an effective solution as the cost of maintaining a data lake is becoming cheaper with virtually infinite storage capacity. Also, spot instances in AWS/ Azure (preemptible in GCP) comes with huge savings which is a great perk for data modeling.

5. Focus on Strategizing and Innovating – Leverage the core benefits of cloud.

Cloud allows companies to increase the pace of product development and marketing. In a traditional in-house IT environment, procuring new resources and infrastructure just for testing and development causes delays in monetizing the business; this can also become counterproductive if the resources are too expensive or if the product fails in the market. But on-demand/pay-per-use will eliminate risk and saves time. Plus, OpEx based cost models replace initial up-front costs. Faster upgrades to software, high availability, easy scalability and elasticity, and access to vendor marketplaces for quality-tested software are other unique propositions of public cloud.

Untapped potential of cloud

Cloud has enormous features but its benefits will not automatically appear just because your organization has adopted it. Cloud requires a “well defined, value-oriented strategy and coordinated execution by IT and Businesses” (McKinsey Quarterly, Feb 2021). Simple lift-and-shift of workloads from on-premises to cloud without a cloud adoption framework will miss out on autoscaling and performance management while increasing the cost due to over-provided assets. Also, the business operating model must be cloud-ready and be built for and integrated with the product development life cycle.

Untapped economic potential of cloud from three focus areas Rejuvenate, Innovate and Pioneer (Source: McKinsey Global research).

Let’s see the example of therapeutics company and vaccine manufacturer Moderna Inc. and how cloud-enabled them to deliver the drug in just 42 days, after the initial sequencing of the COVID-19 virus. The original article from HBR can be found here and you will appreciate how a well-defined cloud-based business model cuts across all the corners of an organization.

The drug designing R&D platform is a proprietary web app that used scalable compute and storage infrastructure. The lab used well-integrated cloud-based data-warehousing service to receive insights from other experiments running simultaneously. With details centrally placed, scientists could easily analyze large amounts of protein structures and rapidly design the vaccine. The ability to harness limitless compute power instantly with a pay-per-use pricing model helped in expediting product development cycles without burning time and cash.  Cloud also helped Moderna Inc. to be up to date with compliance and regulatory frameworks, using concepts such as Infrastructure as a Code (IaC), Governance as a Code, and Security as a Code. Automating these ‘Cloud best practices’ not only reduces manual labor, but also brings in visibility through one-click audit reports.    

Your focus as a CxO (or if your career growth will take you there eventually)

As a CxO you already would know what cloud can bring to the table. Yet there can be hesitations in adoption which makes the transition slow, especially if managers have cold feet regarding security, latency, cost, and architecture redesign. These can be counteracted, and, on many occasions, cloud has proven to be the best fit for these problems.

“From now, many future business leaders will be determined by how well they embrace the cloud.”

CIO, CTO and CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) are front-lining now and give their utmost during the pandemic to support the continuity of the business. There is no other time such as now to focus on digitizing the distribution/supply chain channels and holistically accelerating your digital strategy. As we saw in Part 1 of this article series, cloud is no longer just a tool to host workloads online or rent out compute power. Defining the expectation of cloud migration too narrowly (for example, hosting new applications) will not capture the real essence of the cloud, as there is no consideration of the company as a whole.

To start off, one can:

  • Picture every single aspect of the business processes and domains in which cloud adoption can bring in efficiency and increase revenue, by looking at how cloud and its surrounding technologies can rip apart the silos in business initiatives.
  • Focus not only on selecting the correct technology but also on sourcing methods that must be aligned with corporate policies to mitigate risks.

As cited by McKinsey in a February 2021 article, research on 705 public cloud users by AWS and independent third-party (OmnicomGroup and Known) shows that highly matured cloud adopters stand out from their peers on the below four aspects:

  1. They are early adopters of disruptive technologies.
  2. They aggressively focus on innovating.
  3. They view technology as a competitive advantage and an enabler for launching new businesses.   
  4. They pursue excellence in knowledge and skills sets by having catered roles and career progression for cloud experts, while building tailored programs to improve cloud-specific skills.

The role of a CEO is critical as they only can channel different roles like HR Officer, CFO and CTO. The organization’s cloud strategy needs a collective effort and there is no one better than a CEO to orchestrate it because:

  • Moving to cloud needs investment via sustainable financing.
  • Collaborative top management involvement is needed to create a suitable operating model to facilitate business and technology.
  • Talent planning is crucial to attract and retain specialized tech skills.
  • It is imperative to bring in the organizational cultural practice to enhance a cloud-focused operating model and improve employee commitment to sustain overall value.

On the highway to cloud

  • Cloud is no longer used to host apps on the internet; we must move away from our traditional thinking patterns and start creating a business case centering cloud.
  • The agility all companies are wishing for now comes with technology adoption. Cloud is the highway to take you closer to it.
  • To reap the real benefits of cloud, a well-defined business-technology-based operating model must be devised to holistically capture the essence of the company across all functions.
  • CxOs must collaborate to create the cloud strategy and focus on selecting and sourcing correct tech tools, acquiring sustainable funding, and creating a culture with best practices to thrive in the cloud.
  • Lastly but importantly, cloud and its technologies change ever so rapidly. Hence, we should always be receptive to change and be open for learning.
Tharinya Sellathurai
Engineer – Cloud Technologies
MillenniumIT ESP

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Unlock the Power of Business Agility via Cloud – Part 1

Unlock the Power of Business Agility via Cloud – Part 1

Cloud, from its inception as a server network service, has grown to be a business integrator and now a business innovator. In the first segment of this two-part article, we discuss why businesses should focus on being agile, citing industry-use cases, and how well cloud can create a dynamic and flexible IT culture.

Cloud has evolved and so have businesses

Cloud has moved from being a ‘nice-to-have’ technology to an essential piece of IT infrastructure for any and every organization. Just within the last decade, it has progressively evolved not just to be an infrastructure service, but an enabler of businesses. Now, it is becoming the centerpiece of corporates, holistically integrating into every aspect.

Cloud is everywhere and it’s empowering everything: Amazon Web Services (AWS) has over 200 fully featured services; Google Cloud (GCP) thrives on its unique cloud offerings centered on Big Data and AI modeling tools. These testify that compute, storage, network, and database services aren’t the only benefits of cloud.

“Cloud is not just for hosting apps on the web”

Cloud has evolved, so has the need for adopting it. When companies outline their business plan for public cloud migration, they typically focus on cost reductions and efficiency. Questions are always in line with “How much CapEx and OpEx can I cut?”  Comparisons are made to understand savings from hardware, licenses and human labor to name a few. Yes, cost and convenience were the main market drivers for cloud but business priorities have drastically changed now. Thus, shouldn’t we too start asking different questions now?

COVID-19 didn’t just drive us into remote working; it changed the way we consume products. Consumers are demanding better services that are quick, efficient, easy to use, and customized. If businesses don’t keep up to their users’ pace, they will fail. In today’s saturated market, consumers have zero cost when switching from your service to a competitor’s. Hence, time to market is key and so are functional and stable product releases with continuous uptime.    


What is business agility?

Agility, Balance and Coordination

To keep up with the exponential advancements in consumer technology and the surge in digitalization adoption, businesses need to focus on being agile.

What does this mean? Business agility is the ability of an organization to be flexible and adaptive to the changing market conditions and take quick responses in a cost-efficient manner. For organizations to appear agile, they must be a powerhouse in innovation, learning and R&D. An effective top-down approach in capturing ideas, testing, deploying and/or scraping projects and knowledge sharing is needed. These companies should also balance speed and stability across organizational processes.

“Agility is quickly adapting to market conditions and not getting lost in the competition.”

McKinsey & Company identified benefits of business agility as:

  • Faster revenue growth
  • Prolonged reduction in costs
  • Effective management of threats and reputational risks

A survey conducted for VMware® by independent market-research firm AbsolutData from over 600 respondents, has found that extremely agile companies outperform others in:

  • Recognizing shifts in customer trends/demand
  • Launching new products or functionalities
  • Managing the execution of programs and scaling resources in order to meet demand

How cloud enables business agility 

Agility brings dynamism which in turn enables organizations to approach markets and operational changes routinely. Continuous testing, greenfield deployments and rapidly engaging new distribution channels are part and parcel of seizing potential opportunities quickly. Cloud computing models are ideal for this purpose due to the ease in provisioning and scaling workloads and pay-per-use models. Cloud also embraces organizational agility by supporting mobility, collaborative communications and real-time feedback loops with continuous data insights. 

“If your R&D strategy is to fail fast and fail cheap; then cloud is your fast track.”

In a cloud computing context, agility is the ability to rapidly develop, test and launch applications that deliver business growth. Cloud enables data driven insights allowing you to focus on strategizing your unique value proposition, instead of focusing on provisioning and maintaining the infrastructure.

“Variety for business is more valuable than cost savings.”

The primary reason for leveraging cloud in this era shouldn’t necessarily be a monetary benefit, even though it can be a catalyst. With cloud supporting flexibility and scalability, the thinking mindset of cloud-economics must go beyond Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Therefore, a new set of questions should follow; “How will cloud improve my revenue or the competitiveness of my business?”

The hype around cloud is waning with more industry-use cases and facts on what it can deliver to both IT and business. Trailblazing CTOs first think about business transformation and then how technology will enable it. Now the real talk among CXOs is how cloud helps them create a tighter connection between IT agility and business agility. 

Industry stats and use cases

The same survey referred above reveals that business and IT leaders believe that infrastructure and technology are the key drivers of agility. In non-agile companies there is a fundamental disconnect, where the IT department cites money and skills as the problem while non-technical partners focus on the lack of infrastructure and tech to support business demands. Nevertheless, 63% of respondents say,
Cloud can make the entire organization more business agile, with flexible architecture to support changes and be responsive.”

“Companies with enterprise-wide cloud deployments are 300% more likely to achieve business agility much better than its competition.” – VMware® survey results

Survey results by VMware on the role of cloud in business agility.

The public cloud is a wake-up call because of the on-demand, low-cost, self-service computing power with appealing rate cards, and customer-focused service level agreements (SLAs). Businesses must now evaluate a range of cloud options, including public, private and hybrid models, each with its own set of cost reductions.

Cloud for banking
Banks are forced to adopt technology due to increased pressure from tech-native start-ups providing convenience and control to the users. Retail banks seek to grow their customer bases and revenue by delivering new mobile services faster to the market. Cloud technology provides swift use of a compliant, secure and regulated test and development environment to provide production apps for end-users on any device, at any time and from any location.

Cloud for health
The health sector is one of the industries that rapidly underwent digitalization and digitization within the past year. Internationally, hospitals are moving towards Electronic Health Records (EHR) to improve patient engagement and continuously track the clinical care and record keep for safety. Healthcare companies benefit from cloud computing by receiving on-demand and cost-effective distribution of records to any hospital in any location, with improved patient data dependability, resilience, and security.

Cloud for governments
Governments, public sector and even schools are highly regulated with stringent cost structures which are mandated. Cloud computing delivers a dynamic, secure and compliant alternative, significantly reducing the time it takes to supply technology solutions.

Cloud for retail and manufacturing
Retail and manufacturing industries deal with insurmountable data from inventory to customer behavioral details. Therefore, cloud is vital to store these details but also to analyze and manage them to gain needed visibility about the business. Leveraging data, retailers can understand the customer buying behavior, trends, brand interaction and then use advanced modeling tools for predictive insights and automation. Cloud with its dependable security and dynamic scalability of workloads, large data can be safely stored and SaaS AI and ML tools can be instantly utilized from the cloud service provider’s marketplace.

Cloud = Constant change

Cloud and its technologies are constantly changing; new and newer tools are being introduced by cloud providers constantly. When the core technology evolves, so does our journey with it. Thus, the key strategy here is to be open and constantly revisit our approach when adopting cloud.

If your interest is piqued by reading up the above information on cloud, its elements and applications and now you want to know more, don’t fret. The part 2 segment of this discussion will focus on the features of cloud to create business agility, visualizing the real organizational potential (elaborated with the use case of vaccine manufacturer Moderna Inc. as cited by HBR), and lastly on the actions CEOs and CIOs should collaboratively take to strategize for the future aligning with the cloud. Stay tuned for next week’s release!


Tharinya Sellathurai
Engineer – Cloud Technologies
MillenniumIT ESP

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Go Beyond Chatbots with AI-powered Conversational Banking

Go Beyond Chatbots with AI-powered Conversational Banking

AI-powered Digital Assistants (DAs) have gained popularity over recent years. According to a study by Juniper Research, consumers are expected to interact with voice assistants on over 8.4 billion devices by 2024, surpassing the world’s population. Unlike chatbots, DAs have evolved over the past few years from rule-based responses to function as fully integrated end-to-end customer journey mapped solutions with integration flows.

The rule-based approach used to take the user through several predetermined steps to achieve their goal. With the introduction of pre-trained language models and advanced NLP algorithms, DAs were able to understand user requests better. These improvements led DAs to be conversational. DAs were able to evolve from understanding their users’ requests to being contextually aware of the user’s requests. Now, DAs can initiate conversations, understand the user’s request, be contextually aware, lead users through complex processes, integrate to external systems, communicate via speech commands, and efficiently complete user-requested actions from applications.

MillenniumIT ESP’s FinBot – The Banking Digital Assistant

MillenniumIT ESP has deployed FinBot – the Banking DA – for financial institutions to enhance banks’ customer experience and approachability. FinBot can converse with a user while being contextually aware. It is capable of providing product information related to accounts, loans, credit cards, value-added services, general information, nearest branch/ATM information, check credit card balances, account balances, suspend misplaced cards, generate leads, handover the session to a live agent, raise a complaint, and many more features. Below are a few advantages of FinBot:

Transformed Customer Experience

FinBot can understand human conversations and deliver a personalized and conversational experience to users. The DA improves customer experience by responding to customer inquiries in real-time and maintaining positive NPS and resolutions.

24/7 Availability & Scalability

The Banking DA can assist customers and employees 24/7 via various channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype, MS Teams, Telegram, and Twilio, among others. It is reliable and can handle a number of requests simultaneously.

Reduced Cost

FinBot is able to handle customer inquiries from digital channels with minimum human intervention. This would enable bank agents to focus on more high priority, important tasks and attend to customer queries only when needed.

Unforeseen Insights

When DAs are incorporated, banks can understand their customers’ sentiments, most frequently inquired products and services and other insights to judge their areas of interest to use for targeted campaigns and promotions. Real-time insights will assist banks to take more strategic decisions based on concrete data.

Below are a few features and functionalities of the FinBot solution.

Feature 1: Conversational Flows

The DA understands the context of the user’s query without the user explicitly mentioning it. For instance, the user could ask “I want to know the nearest branch,” and the DA would respond with the nearest branch information based on the shared GPS location/entered city. If the user then asks, “Can you provide me the contact information,” the DA would know the user is asking for information on the nearest branch information shared and will provide the response accordingly. The DA is also designed and developed to understand the user’s query no matter how complex the command sentence is; it will understand all relevant entities mentioned by the user and provide the final response. Auto-correction and misspelt words are also supported.

Feature 2: End-to-End Process Automation

The DA could trigger RPA processes. Information entered to the DA could be used to fill and submit external forms without manual intervention. The DA could trigger the first level verification RPA process of a customer based on the information provided. A user can type a message in the DA like “I want to disable my debit card,” the DA would then process the request and trigger the RPA bot. The RPA bot would connect with the on-prem legacy system, and once the task is completed, the RPA bot would pass the status of the response to the DA which would provide the relevant information to the user.

Feature 3: Integration with On-prem Systems

FinBot could be integrated with the backend systems of an organization. This includes integrating with CRM systems, submitting support tickets to ticketing systems and integrating with on-prem core-banking systems to get account balance and credit card balances. The high-level process of checking the credit card balance through the Banking DA is illustrated below.

Feature 4: Integration to Multiple Channels

Using the Banking DA, organizations could engage with their customers on multiple platforms. A DA could be embedded to the company website, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, WhatsApp, Skype, Twilio, Slack, and MS Teams, among others.

Feature 5: Live Agent Handover

When a customer prefers to speak to a live agent, the DA could hand over the session to the live agent with the customer conversation history. This ensures a smooth transition for the customer and makes it an easier process for the customer care agent to take over the conversation.

Feature 6: Customized GUI Components

Customized UI components, including rich user controls such as cards, forms, carousels, menus, multimedia content, and customized branding can be incorporated to improve the overall user experience.

Feature 7: Multilingual Capability

DAs have the capability of conversing in multiple languages. At MillenniumIT ESP, we have deployed DAs that support English, Sinhala and Tamil languages to ensure that more people can access the DA in their native language.

Feature 8: Delivering Insights through Analytics Dashboard

While customer-facing DAs mainly support customer care agents, they also provide key metrics for managerial decision-making. Through the insights and analytics provided following the deployment of a DA, key metrics can be collected. An organization could identify their popular products, customer queries and expectations, identify seasonal changes and gather other key information for their decision-making needs.

Feature 9: Speech Capability

Users are able to interact with voice DAs via voice commands. Custom Neural voice is also supported, which allows users to create a customized voice for their brand.

Feature 10: Pre-trained Use Cases

The DA consists of pre-trained banking and financial language models for account information, credit card information, loan information, value-added service information, e-banking information, and general information enabling the DA to be rapidly deployed.

Feature 11: Continuous Re-training

Continuous re-training and improvements of the DA will be done on a daily basis to improve the customer experience.

FinBot’s High Level Architecture

FinBot is powered by Microsoft’s Bot Framework and the Azure Cognitive Services.

The Microsoft Bot Framework is used to build DAs that use natural language understanding, speech, questions and answers, etc. Microsoft Cognitive Services are used to build cognitive intelligence to the DA. Microsoft’s Language Understanding Model is used to predict the overall meaning and retrieve detailed information of the user’s conversation. QnA Maker is used to build a knowledge base by using question and answer pairs. Azure Storage is used to handle temporary session data. A site-to-site VPN is integrated to securely connect with on-prem systems.

Security-first Approach

Relevant security measures are undertaken to secure the banking DA by adhering to PCI Security Standards. Azure Bot Service is continually expanding its certification coverage. Currently, Azure Bot Service is certified with the following certificates. UI-level masking and encryption mechanisms are incorporated to ensure that all sensitive information exchanged are secure.

What Makes Us Unique?

MillenniumIT ESP provides end-to-end DA solutions. Each solution maps the customer journey to provide a seamless user experience. Development best practices and processes are followed to create production-ready DAs.

Our FinBot solution is also recognized as a preferred solution on the Microsoft Marketplace and it is Microsoft co-sell ready containing pre-trained models for banking and financial institutions.

End note:

With people increasingly adopting digital platforms and virtual consumer behavior practices normalizing across industries, DA’s will soon become the preferred choice for customer engagement. These versatile artificial intelligence applications with multiple industry flexibility will liberate individuals from mundane tasks and help humans focus their energy on more creative endeavors.

Shehani Perera
Engineer – Software Engineering
MillenniumIT ESP
Areefa Thassim
Engineer – Enterprise Applications
MillenniumIT ESP

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