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Digital Harbor: Incubating The Future With Conversational Applications

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In our innumerable transactions with banks, we repeatedly come across the term Know Your Customer (KYC) so often that it is hard to think of a time when it wasn’t an industry norm. Behind the incubation of this pioneering solution is a company that started with premise and promise of “connecting the dots”, has continued to extend its transformative touch to other industries, thus changing the way they operate.

While some businesses aim to capitalize on the present opportunities, some strive to constantly push the envelope of technology farther, to territories where few have ventured before. Digital Harbor, Inc., a Virginia-based innovator has, throughout its journey i.e. from its inception in 1997 to the present, developed future-incubating technologies and platforms that transform the way enterprises work.

Today, Digital Harbor is betting big on its next innovation, which it is confident will catapult enterprise-wide convergence and collaboration to the next orbit of effectivity and efficiency. Social Enterprise Technology (SET) will empower enterprise workers to shift the work paradigm from linear approach to confluent thinking through the power of what Digital Harbor has christened as ‘conversational applications’.

In this exclusive interview with Rohit Agarwal, President and Chief Innovations Officer, Digital Harbor, we discuss about growth trajectory of Digital Harbor and how it challenged and changed the industry status-quo, playing a key catalyzing role in enterprise evolution.


Conversational application

Aren’t Siri and Google Assistant ‘conversational applications too? Rohit responds, “Currently, what we see in the market is a very primitive version of voice-based intelligent assistance. Through an uptake of various emergent technologies, we incubated a first-of-its-kind “conversational application” which is a fusion of artificial intelligence, business intelligence, and collaborative intelligence. “

He continues,” Conversational applications combine machine learning capabilities with human touch, driving enterprise productivity to unprecedented levels. They form a bond with the business users, try to learn and evolve with them, are contextual, social, intelligent, proactive while also bringing the most human element of empathy to the table, thus transforming the way workers operate.”

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Social Enterprise Technology

While on the topic, I ask if ‘conversational application’ is a part of Social Enterprise Technology (SET) which is poised for an early next year release. And what is SET? With a plethora of enterprise collaboration tools available in the market, how is SET going to differentiate itself.

“SET is in a different league altogether. It is not a bespoke tool that allows you to collaborate on specific tasks. It is an enterprise-universal platform with workflow-integration across all levels and hierarchies of the organization. In one giant leap, it enables business users to function entirely on one single platform without having to use different tools for specific tasks”, he quips.

What was the seed idea that piloted the company towards this concept? “Many knowledge workers feel that great technology strides made in the consumer market have largely bypassed the enterprise segment. In fact, 30% of them think their IT tools at workplace are worse than those they use at home. We added a social layer that wraps the complex workflow schema into simple processes. Therefore, the entertaining and engaging experience that consumer applications offer has been extended and enhanced to suit enterprise needs.”

In response to my earlier question, Rohit says, “Conversational application will be a central guiding force in SET. Automation-enabled recording and retrieval of data is already going mainstream, but we are pushing the boundaries further by incorporating proactive intelligence and human-like behavior that continuously evolves and builds upon the knowledge gained through interaction with the employee. Data is the bedrock of a modern enterprise; so, decision-making necessitates use of a confluence of data spread across silos of information. SET enables businesses to make smarter and faster data-driven decisions. Personalization will no longer appear algorithmic, but assume human traits by learning and understanding your moods, your workstyle, your commitments, your passions etc.”

How will that affect company’s bottom-line? “Imagine an application so conversant with your business processes that it proactively identifies anomalies and frauds, and boosts company’s topline and investor mindshare. Now that the mundane, repetitive tasks are made easier by SET, business users can realign their energy and time towards core and critical enterprise decisions. The boost in employee productivity will translate into spurt in innovation, which in turn will bolster its business growth.”

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Digital Harbor’s business philosophy

The way in which technology is presented (from user-experience perspective) to a business user makes it pretty evident as to why they begrudgingly adopt and adapt to it. From the company perspective too, a lot of investment is necessary to upskill the employees, to train them in use of new technologies.

Rohit asserts, “We flip the script. Throughout our innovation history, we always placed the business user at the heart of product experience. Conversational applications are but an offspring of this philosophy. And SET prides itself in being the first-of-its-kind enterprise transformation solution that ‘connects the dots’ for a knowledge worker in a simple and elegant way. The workers, now freed from peripheral, repetitive activities, can sharpen their focus on value-addition”.

“SET is a transformative platform without a precedent. But, for us, it’s not just about the end-product, but the initial idea and underlying philosophy that fired our imagination and impelled us to blaze the path of new possibilities”.

A history of creating precedents

Is this the first time Digital Harbor is charting an unexplored terrain? Rohit contends, “This is not the first time Digital Harbor has upped the ante to disrupt the status-quo. In its initial years, it was engaged in developing a suite of composite applications for the defense sector. Later, it revolutionized the BFSI space by pioneering the Know Your Customer (KYC) solution to an extent where it has become the de-facto industry norm today.”

That was long ago. What about its present focus? “We next ventured into healthcare space with great success.” Our pragmatic innovations viz. Know Your Provider (KYP) and several other solutions, helped healthcare providers save over USD $ 500 million. In circles that matter, we are thought-leaders who create a successful trail for others to follow.”

What does the company think about the future of SET and its market performance? Rohit concludes brimming with pride and confidence, “The urge to aspire and achieve big is deeply encoded in our organizational DNA. SET, the culmination of our continued success in various verticals, is an industry-agnostic universal platform that will create a new benchmark for enterprise solutions. Data is the new oil, and Digital Harbor’s prescient realization of its importance well ahead of others, has helped us chart a course of incubating innovations that enable data-driven decision-making. Our diverse experience and evolutionary-edge makes us uniquely-positioned to lead the enterprises into their future through the power of disruptive technologies. “

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