Data revolution: how APIs can and should accelerate your Digital Transformation

Colin Clive, Director of Platforms & Engineering, looks at the history of APIs, and the value they can and should bring to your business.

APIs: a history

The Application Programming Interface or API as it is more commonly known refers to the modern approach of using HTTP to provide access to data. APIs allow software applications and digital services to talk to each other. They return and send raw data, which can be in a standard machine readable format, and are primarily used to support the integration of systems. Modern Web APIs became mainstream in the early 2000s when new start-ups such as Salesforce, Amazon, and eBay published Web APIs to make services available to customers and third party providers.

Since then, APIs have been behind the technology revolution in a number of sectors, and has improved the customer experience in each of these sectors. This includes Financial Services, where the use of Open Banking opened up commerce and payments, and Social Media, where APIs became the power behind the platforms used by giants such as Facebook and Twitter.

You can find more information here on APIs including a link to a popular dissertation on Representational State Transfer (REST) by Roy Fielding, which laid the foundations of Web APIs that we use today.

The Value that APIs can Bring

When an organisation can make it simple to exchange information both internally and externally, it opens up massive opportunities. It is a misconception that APIs are only there to be used by Technology professionals to build applications. They can also be used simply to provide access to a wide range of data sets. To enable this, it is important to make the APIs accessible to non-developers using API tooling that doesn’t require any knowledge of coding.

A simple and powerful starting point is to outline clear instructions, detailing how to use the APIs and where to find to them. Extending this simple concept to your partners or customers opens up the provision of data and digital capabilities outside the organisation, without the need for time consuming and expensive technology integrations.

Of course, with increased interconnectivity comes increased security risk, and APIs are no different. It’s vitally important that organisations employ API security best practices, including API gateways and data encryption, to ensure the APIs are accessible to those who need them, and nobody else.

How APIs can accelerate Digital Transformation

Simplicity is the key to innovation and accelerating Digital Transformation. The focus of the Technology team should be to remove the backend complexity and provide a catalogued suite of APIs that will open up functionality and data to clients and partners.

However, this is not just about Technology. In an API-first organisation, the API strategy should be linked to and driven by business needs, with business owners defining the details of the API contracts, i.e. the data to be sent or received, how it is requested, and the events that allow the data to be sent or received.

With the technology in place and the key business experts involved in defining and prioritising, the capabilities to be integrated through APIs will allow for innovation, and the unlocking of value, at a rapid pace. Working in collaboration with clients to react to changing customer needs through already created and available APIs will accelerate the speed of achieving digital transformation.

What we’re doing at Webhelp

In business process outsourcing, the seamless integration of data and functionality between the client and the outsourcer is paramount to providing the best Customer Experience and insight.

With this in mind, Webhelp is currently putting in place an API infrastructure and deploying an API Gateway to manage, secure, and monitor a rich suite of APIs that will be available internally and – more importantly – externally, to our partners and clients. With an initial focus on data exchange, we will provide an open and secure mechanism over the public internet to allow the common data required for seamless operational reporting and business intelligence through Partner APIs.

We will provide a standard suite of APIs that will be accessible, catalogued, and simply defined using common industry standards. This will allow our clients and partners to use the APIs from Day 1 without the need of any timely and costly IT set up. All that is required is access to a reliable and performant internet connection.

 

Nothing stands still. The ability to develop new APIs and change existing APIs at pace to drive digital transformation, will require a shift from a traditional monolithic design to a cloud-native design supported by modern technology. To support this, Webhelp are moving to a modern enterprise digital platform, leveraging the best practice in the technology industry. This platform, combined with a team of highly skilled engineers using Development, Security and Operations (DevSecOps) to deliver securely at speed, will provide the ability to deploy APIs to the business, and to partners, at lightning speed.


Webhelp to broaden non-profit initiative to support education and inclusion worldwide

As a Think Human company, Webhelp fosters an inspirational culture, one through which Webhelpers are encouraged to make a difference in the world. Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) has always been at the core of Webhelp’s identity, which is why we’ve championed the support of global charity initiatives since 2015.

Over the years, it’s become clear that the broad disparity in access to education often impacts people’s lives significantly. Exclusion can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or background, and just a set of unfortunate circumstances, coupled with a lack of support, could have people left behind.

The founding of SHARED Foundation 

Charged to address the issue in 2015, Webhelp launched the SHARED Foundation (Solidarity, Humanitarian, Aid, Environment, Diversity) under the Foundation of France. SHARED’s mission was to support professional integration and employability by promoting access to general education and digital skills development.

SHARED has supported local associations in the countries where Webhelp operates under the French region. In 2019, Webhelpers began coordinating initiatives to identify local associations in each country and opened the opportunity for employees to participate in volunteer projects. Over the last five years, SHARED has helped 15 associations across eight countries, enabling over 2,000 people to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to enter the local job markets.

An international mission: Think Human Foundation

SHARED’s success in the French-speaking part of the Webhelp world made it possible to envision a more significant impact and fight against inequality in the over 50 countries where Webhelp branches sit.

In January 2020, Webhelp, together with its shareholders and Olivier Duha, co-founder and CEO of the group, formed Think Human Foundation to promote this development globally. The foundation has the same goals as SHARED but with a much broader scope. Webhelpers worldwide can advance our people-first commitment by supporting local charity initiatives, be it financial, time, or expertise support.

Olivier Duha, CEO and Co-founder of Webhelp, remarked:

“Since the creation of SHARED Foundation in France in 2015, we’ve managed to grow Webhelp’s initiative to a force with a global reach, today known as Think Human Foundation. At Webhelp, we believe that education and inclusion are integral for a person to build their life, which is why it’s our mission to promote and foster more equitable opportunities for people to find their place in the workforce,”

“This foundation is more than a charity because our Webhelpers will dedicate their time towards working with local communities, regional networks, and national governments to create opportunities for people in the professional world. We are so proud that this global charity initiative has all the support of the global Webhelp family.”

To learn more about Think Human Foundation, visit the website at thinkhumanfoundation.org.


B2B Marketplace payment terms

B2B Marketplace: how to reduce payment terms?

B2B Marketplace payment terms

Payment terms, if not met, do businesses a disservice by depriving them of a source of funds. In the case of B2B marketplaces, which act as a link between professional sellers and buyers, it will be crucial to manage these deadlines by offering tailor-made solutions adapted to the business lines and operating models.

Although the Modernisation of the Economy Act (LME), which entered into force on 5 August 2008, made it possible to reduce payment terms and thus improve the cash flow of some suppliers, these payment terms vary greatly from one sector to another*.

On average, payment terms are 44 days for customers across all industries, with 25 days for commercial customers compared with 55 days for manufacturing industries. Within these same industries, companies pay their suppliers between 42 and 61 days on average.

B2B Marketplace payment terms

How can one remove barriers and offer buyers payment terms while keeping control of the seller’s cash flow and exposure to risk?

This is the equation that operators must solve in order to convince buyers to finalise a transaction and to ensure that sellers use the marketplace as a strategic axis for growth.

As a payment institution, Webhelp Payment Services is used to working with different business sectors such as fashion, agri-food, pharmaceuticals and manufacturers. We offer marketplace operator customers solutions specific to their customer strategy, including maintaining control of payment terms and deadlines in order to reduce risk. In fact, it is up to the marketplace operator to define the rules that apply on its marketplace. It thus directs the buyer towards a risk-free but potentially prohibitive prepayment, or towards payment on the due date, which facilitates the transaction but places a financial risk on the seller.
The payment terms themselves contain a number of elements that facilitate risk management, such as payment dates or the method of payment (bank transfer, direct debit, financing plan, etc.). Also, this decision-making phase is even more crucial than the transactional phase because it will help avoid problems in the future.

 

Tailored solutions to reduce payment terms

In addition to its function of bringing sellers and buyers together via the platform, the marketplace makes it possible to automate the tracking of invoices until they are integrated into the interested parties’ CRM. Automation of the process thus allows considerable time savings between invoicing and payment, significantly reducing the payment date.

To reduce and control payment terms on your marketplace, our experts support you based on the profile of the transaction and the buyer with tailor-made solutions adapted to your situation:

  • Is this a first purchase?
  • Do you have qualitative information about the buyer and their payment behaviour (have they ever had outstanding payments to their bank? Do they have overdue debts?)
  • What is the transaction worth? (a €100 purchase does not involve the same financial risk as a €50,000 purchase)
  • Is the buyer covered by credit insurance?

Finally, it will be essential to set up a proper credit management process, following-up overdue invoices and a step by step reminder and recovery process (amicable, pre-litigation, litigation).

 

Our experts will recommend good practice to suit your situation:

  • If it’s the first transaction between a seller and the buyer: focus on zero risk 

In the case of a new customer it is preferable to offer only prepayment by credit card or bank transfer to reduce the risk of unpaid invoices (order not despatched until payment has been received).

If you know your customer, you can give them the choice of payment method. Alternatively, you can calculate the customer’s outstanding payments and offer the customer only prepayment if outstanding payments are already very high in your marketplace.

Either way, these management rules are decisions for which the operator is responsible and are applied in the marketplace via the PSP and the platform.

  • The due date has passed 

Above all, it will be necessary to manage an incremental approach to future payment reminders. A customer who is late in paying is not necessarily a bad customer. Also, it is advisable to send the first reminder by e-mail or SMS, then to space out reminders so that they are not perceived as harassment.

However, if after several weeks the payment has still not been received, we will recommend that you call in specialist collection agencies who will be responsible for contacting the customer (by post and telephone).

To conclude, while it is true that, in the context of how a marketplace operates, the risk of non-payment is borne by the seller, it nevertheless remains the responsibility of the marketplace operator to set the rules and more particularly the payment terms made available, the payment deadlines granted or the type of reminders when payments are in default.

 

Although this clarification is mainly for the domestic market, these good practices also apply internationally, adapted to normal practice in each country, something which Webhelp Payment Services does through its seven subsidiaries based in Europe and North America, making payments to more than 35,000 buyers in 35 countries.

 

* Based on the 2018 Annual report on compliance with payment terms

 

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The death of passwords and the move to recognition technology

The concept of the computer password dates back to the earliest days of shared computer systems, with the first computer password developed in 1961 at MIT. That’s 60 years ago this year that we started our journey with digital authentication methods. The first case of password theft or misuse was documented just a year later, in 1962.

It’s almost unbelievable in this age of rapid technology advancement that we are still relying on what is essentially an aged and almost obsolete technology to protect ourselves and our digital assets from prying eyes.

Today, we are entering what is referred to as the “Third Wave” of the authentication revolution. The password was v1.0, Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) are v2.0, and we now find ourselves looking at v3.0 beginning to take shape.

With online security a greater concern than perhaps ever before for customers, let’s take a look at what organisations need to be aware of now, as we move into an innovative new future in digital security.

So what exactly is the problem with passwords?

Characters from a known character set are the basis of any password generation process (manual or automated). This is exactly the reason why there is no perfectly unique password. Passwords are created to be remembered, and that is their one fundamental weakness. It makes them predictable, guessable and open to abuse

Didn’t 2FA and MFA solve the issue?

Well, no not entirely. MFA (like all methods of authentication) is open to abuse and is highly dependent on how it has been implemented. The approach to “proving who you are” using multiple elements across the four key factors of authentication certainly makes it more difficult to fool systems, but not impossible (which, let’s face it, is the ultimate goal of any authentication technology).

Authentication factors look at four key categories:

  • Knowledge (something you know)
  • Possession (something you have)
  • Inherence (something you are)
  • Location

You may well be used to 2FA across your apps and devices, but did you know that some security services have 4FA in place? Logging on to check your email may take some time…

What exactly is recognition technology?

Authentication 3.0 is the world of “recognition technology”. Recognition technology includes a mixture of different data points across end user devices, data analytics, mobile usage, behavioural and physical biometrics, and factors of continuous authentication to build a more solid and resilient model compared to the methods used today.

We all know about facial and fingerprint recognition, you probably use these on your phone along with solutions like Windows Hello.

But here’s the thing – the way you type, the angle you hold your phone at, the way you move your cursor, the websites you visit, if you run your browser maximised on your desktop, the time of day you logon, the speed you read at, that pause before you send an important email – these are all examples of your unique identity footprint in the digital world. They all represent individual data points that uniquely identify you.

Combine this digital footprint with advancements in biometrics such as heart rate signatures, vein recognition, thermography, gait, hand geometry (and yes even body odour) it becomes possible to build a totally unique digital identity of you. Combine these technologies with AI, built to continuously monitor changes in your identity profile, and the world of passwordless authentication seems more like a reality.

So where next?

We do need to be realistic. For widespread adoption of these new authentication methods, what’s needed is a clear set of globally agreed standards, and a lot of legacy technology systems. Innovation will continue in this space, but is likely for now to offer the results of varied experimentation. Different approaches will have different solutions, built to different specifications, all chasing the one ultimate proof of identity that is impossible to fabricate.

One thing is clear, though – the age of the simple password as a sole method for authentication is rapidly approaching an end. We will continue to see greater adoption of a layered security approach before these methods are finally put out to pasture, but the clock is ticking.

At Webhelp, we’re always ready for the next step in technology evolution, while still maintaining our focus on the human element. As we incorporate new developments in security into our systems and processes, we continue to work hand in hand with our people, to design security solutions that work for them, and help to create the best possible colleague experience.

To find out more about Technology and AI, read the latest blog by James Allen, Chief Risk and Technology Officer on Bots, Bias and Bigotry.


Webhelp partners with Microsoft to stimulate economic growth in Egypt

Webhelp and Microsoft Egypt 2

Webhelp, a global leader in customer experience and business solutions, recently entered a partnership with Microsoft to create 200 jobs in Cairo, Egypt.

An official agreement was signed with a joint mission to grow the Webhelp Egypt business to 1,000 employees by the end of 2021 and expand to more than 4,000 employees over the next three years.

Driven by its vision to make business more human, Webhelp is committed to increasing diversity and investing in programs to promote education and integration in the more than 50 countries where it operates. Already a major employer in Africa and northern Africa, Webhelp is committed to growing its sustainable investments on a global scale.

The news comes after Webhelp signed a three-year agreement with Egypt’s Information Technology Development Authority (ITIDA) to invest EGP 200M into job creation, technical skill enhancement, and economic growth. In line with Webhelp’s impact sourcing initiatives, ITIDA aims to create intensive job opportunities for highly qualified Egyptian youth in information technology products and services.

Last Thursday, Amr Mahfouz, President of ITIDA, Mirna Arif, General Manager of Microsoft Egypt, Vincent Bernard, Group Chief Operating Officer, Etienne Turion, CEO of Webhelp Enterprise, and Alaa El Khishen, Webhelp Egypt CEO, witnessed the event at the official Ministry of Communications and Information Technology office in Egypt.

Microsoft and Webhelp’s collaboration will support remote presales and sales services of Microsoft digital transformation solutions to small and medium enterprise businesses. Webhelp’s enterprise practice has developed strong partnerships with major tech players globally, thanks to its strong expertise in B2B sales in this key sector. This agreement strengthens Microsoft and Webhelp Egypt’s future ambition to generate job opportunities to spur growth and prosperity in the region.

Mirna Arif, Country Manager, Microsoft Egypt, said:

“Our partnership with Webhelp will enable job creation, enhance skills and support our country’s growth story in the post-pandemic era. As we continue to empower public and private organizations across the country to achieve their digital agendas, we will continue to strengthen Egypt’s position as the destination of choice for attracting global investments.”

Vincent Bernard, Group Chief Operating Officer, announced:

“We are proud that thanks to our enterprise expertise and global way of working, we have become a trusted partner of a major player like Microsoft. Our partnership will become part of Webhelp’s ESG initiative to empower new generations through offering the opportunity to become trained and internationally certified in pre-sales services, digital sales, and sales channels. In the coming years, we have plans to invest further in opportunities for youth in Egypt.”

Webhelp and Microsoft Egypt

Digital empowerment for future leaders

At Webhelp, our motto is “Think human.” That means putting our people first. It means helping them to make the most of their individual talents, to innovate and take risks, and to help each other grow and thrive. To become passionate game changers, and the future of our industry.

Digital adoption is a huge part of that. We believe that a shift to digital ways of working, properly delivered, serves to assist our people in finding their potential. With that in mind, over recent years the Organisational Development team has transformed our management development programmes, with digital enhancements at the centre, to enable our leaders to be the best they can be.

Virtual Classroom

Back in 2018, we upskilled our Management Development Consultants to design, develop and deliver virtual classrooms using virtual software. The goal was to shift the Management Development modules – traditionally only delivered in a face to face environment – into a virtual classroom approach.

To date, the team have facilitated over 160 Virtual Classroom sessions to an audience of over 1000 managers, translating to 2468 hours of learning investment. Not only did this allow us to swiftly pivot our approach when the Covid-19 crisis forced organisations to embrace remote working, the shift to digital training has led to a far greater reach of management development consultants to our managers, which has in turn increased the volume of development available. And we are seeing the results.. Over the past 4 years, the rating of our managers by our front line advisors has increased year-on-year, and is one of the highest rated responses across all sections of our annual employee survey.

We continue to refine and improve our offering and are proud to say that  our people can now receive the same industry-leading training with a 50% reduction in learning investment time.  They also have more flexibility in when and how they access the learning they need.

Virtual Roadshow

One perhaps less obvious impact of lockdown has been on how we can communicate with our people. It’s incredibly important to us that our people feel informed about the learning opportunities that are open to them, and with our usual face to face opportunities off the table, we needed a new solution.

And that is where Virtual Roadshow comes in.. To create awareness and excitement about the ehancements the Organisational Development team have been making over the last couple of years, we will be talking virtually to all operational leaders and support colleagues over the course of the next few months. We have complemented this roadshow with an innovative, interactive digital booklet, complete with informative videos on all programmes and learning opportunities breaking down all the important developments across the business. This allows colleauges to digest this and reflect on what it means for them as and when they chose.

We are proud to be transforming the learner experience, and have already seen the benefits it’s bringing. Taking a unique approach to showcasing our management development products through our interactive booklet truly demonstrates the digital capabilities we have developed.  I’m excited for the new possibilities that this gives us, as we continue to grow and transform.

Judith Ferguson, Director, People Business Partnering & Organisational Development – UK, South Africa & India

Social learning

As part of our Leadership Development Suite, we set out to revolutionise our learning & development proposition, by providing high-end, blended and self-directed learning options for our people. When COVID hit in March 2020, we wanted to find a way to support our managers rapidly, and enable not only open communication, but a community approach to solving problems. We wanted managers to support other managers, and learn from each other.

Our solution was to provide open access to our Leadership Development suite, with over 85 learning programmes currently available. We’ve created a fully virtual solution in the form of a Social Learning community, enhancing communication, and allowing over 900 colleagues (and counting) to find and organically share their learning and information. This allows for years of experience to be fed right back into the business, for those who know to share with those who want to know.

We’ve made some significant changes, both before and during lockdown, to our ways of working. We’ve changed how we develop our people. We’ve changed how we engage with our people.

These changes have helped us to keep connected through learning during lockdown. More significantly, though, they’ve given our people the tools they need to help each other grow. They’ve helped make personal development open and available for everyone, regardless of their role or location.

Interested in finding out more about our journey?  Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Webhelp named as leader by NelsonHall for Customer Care and Sales Capability

 

Webhelp was recognized as a leader in NelsonHall’s 2021 Vendor Evaluation & Assessment Tool (NEAT) for our exceptional customer care and sales capability on social media. We were also ranked highly for our online reputation management, content moderation, and trust and safety capabilities, validating our teams’ ongoing dedication to support our global partners’ customers and brand reputation. 

NelsonHall recently published a social media customer experience (CX) services profile highlighting Webhelp’s capabilities, specialization, and technology enablement. The profile also touches upon our people-first approach to ensuring the health and wellness of our team members.

Ivan Kotzev, lead CX analyst and author of the report, stated:

“In the breakneck dynamic of social media content moderation, Webhelp maintains a strong position with a combination of proprietary moderation and agent assistance platforms, strategic partnership, investments in employee wellbeing and resilience, and industry-specific services.”

NelsonHall’s custom report presents the NEAT vendor evaluation findings for social media CX services in the Customer Care & Sales Capability market segment, displaying a graph of our performance analyzing our social media CX services and the latest market trends.

Besides our solid B2B social selling capability, the profile elaborates on our social media CX consulting, design ability, mature content moderation, and trust & safety experience. This high rating in NelsonHall’s assessment validates our extensive capability and growing global footprint enabling our teams to go the extra mile to deliver real value to our clients.

 

The report evaluated 21 leading industry players to compare and highlight their offerings, delivery capability, benefits achieved on behalf of clients, customer presence, positioning, innovation, and more.

Ivan continues in the profile, “Webhelp has a mature consulting and design practice able to analyze clients’ CX demand and identify social channels’ suitability within an overall CX approach.”

The NelsonHall NEAT assessment defines a leader as a player who exhibits high capability than their peers while delivering benefits for clients at a developed ability to exceed client expectations.


Bots, Bias & Bigotry: safe scaling of AI

In the first of our Risk & Innovation series, James Allen examines the barriers to overcome when scaling AI.

Now that we’re well into the fourth Industrial Revolution (also known as Industry 4.0), we expect to see some fundamental shifts in how businesses operate and serve their customers.

Here’s what we see as the three big pillars of Industry 4.0:

  1. Digitisation of product and service offerings
  2. Digitisation and integration of supply / value chains
  3. Digital business models and customer access

 

The shift toward Industry 4.0 has become more important to many brands, and has accelerated during the Covid crisis as a result of significant changes in supply chain and consumer behaviour.

In fact, a recent McKinsey survey highlighted that 65% of respondents see Industry 4.0 as being more valuable since the pandemic, with the same survey revealing that the top 3 strategic objectives for Industry 4.0 are:

  1. Agility to scale operations up or down in response to market-demand changes (18.4%)
  2. Flexibility to customize products to consumer needs (17.2%)
  3. Increase operational productivity and performance to minimise costs (17.2%)

Yet when the same respondents were asked if they had successfully scaled Industry 4.0 initiatives, only 26% had managed to do so successfully.

 

According to Rothschild & Co, the market for Industry 4.0 is expected to top 300 billion dollars, and with AI and connectivity projected to reduce manufacturing costs by 20% (or 400 billion dollars), it’s essential that companies find a way to scale safely, at pace.

Artificial Intelligence evolution

AI has been in development for years, starting with the first computers in the 1940, with which scientists and mathematicians began to explore the potential for building an electronic brain. In 1950, the “Turing Test” proposed that if a machine could carry on a conversation that was indistinguishable from a conversation with a human being, then it was reasonable to say that the machine was “thinking”. This simplified version of the problem allowed Alan Turing to argue convincingly that a “thinking machine” was at least plausible, and the paper answered all the most common objections to the proposition.

Fast forward many years, and many millions of pounds of research investment, and in 1997 perhaps the first publicly recognised AI computer was developed. This came from IBM in the form of Deep Blue – a chess-playing computer that beat the reigning world chess champion Garry Kasparov.

But machines like Deep Blue were incredibly complex, extremely expensive, and inaccessible to all but a few large technology companies. In the past few years, however, the interest and opportunity presented by AI within Industry 4.0 has exploded.

This is due to a number of factors:

  • Wider availability of computing and access to cloud environments with large processing power
  • Development of deep learning algorithms
  • Big Data platforms
  • Development of Artificial General Intelligence

AI – learnings and barriers to scale

Whilst many companies see the potential presented by AI, companies are also rightly concerned by the risks that it presents, as well as the barriers they need to overcome when scaling.

The most common challenges we tend to come across are:

  • Access to specialist skills
  • Cost of processing in cloud environments
  • Inability to demonstrate fairness, lack of bias and integrity of AI algorithms
  • Risk of unintended consequences
  • Regulatory understanding
  • Ability to seamlessly switch between AI powered processes and regular business processes in the event the AI fails

This presents organisations with a real conundrum. AI use raises questions over ethics, safeguards, interpretability and more. It’s only right that organisations probe these issues and take the learnings from those that have gone before them.

Here’s a few public examples of where AI has gone wrong:

Footballer or felon

A facial-recognition system identified almost thirty professional American footballers as criminals, including New England Patriots three-time Super Bowl champion Duron Harmon. The software incorrectly matched the athletes to a database of mugshots in a test organized by the Massachusetts chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Nearly one in six athletes were falsely identified.

CEO gets spoofed

In 2019 the CEO of a UK-based energy firm got a call from his boss at their German parent company, instructing him to transfer €220,000 to a Hungarian supplier. The ‘boss’ said the request was urgent and directed the UK CEO to transfer the money promptly. It turned out the phone call was made by criminals who used AI-based software to mimic the boss’ voice, including the “slight German accent and the melody of his voice,” as reported in the Wall Street Journal. Such AI-powered cyberattacks are a new challenge for companies, as traditional cybersecurity tools designed for keeping hackers off corporate networks can’t identify spoofed voices.

Get me out of here!

US airlines were subject to widespread criticism after their AI powered pricing systems charged customers up to 10 times the price of a regular ticket, as they desperately tried to escape Florida ahead of the arrival of hurricane Irma. The systems did not have a kill switch. “There are no ethics valves built into the system that prevent an airline from overcharging during a hurricane,” said Christopher Elliott, a consumer advocate and journalist.

 

Navigating the risks and enabling safe scaling of AI

Webhelp and Gobeyond Partners have developed a comprehensive framework to support the safe scaling of AI, including assessment of risk, key controls, human-centred ethics principles, algorithm management and data handling. This framework includes open source methods that can be used to demonstrate the integrity and explainability of AI algorithms.

Safe scaling of AI

Questions your organisation should consider

Although AI presents a huge opportunity to transform both business operations and customer experience, this is not without risk. Here are some of the long term strategic questions that we recommend you consider, for your organisation:

  • What role does AI have in the working environment and is there such a thing as a post-labour economy? If so, how do we make it fair?
  • How do we eliminate bias in AI?
  • How do we keep AI safe from threats?
  • Is it right to use AI in cyber defence? If so, where is the line?
  • As AI capabilities become more integrated, how do we stay in control of such a complex system?
  • How do we define the humane treatment of AI?

 

Feel free to get in touch, to see how we can help you safely fulfil your Industry 4.0 ambitions at pace and at scale.


Innovation

Innovation is necessary, safety is crucial

James Allen, Webhelp’s Chief Risk & Technology Officer, introduces our new series taking a deep dive into risk and innovation.

Risk and Innovation don’t tend to appear in the same sentence very often. Innovation is, of course, essential for businesses aiming to survive and thrive in the 4th Industrial Revolution. But with an increasing weight of regulation, and with data becoming more valuable than oil, how can companies simultaneously innovate while staying ahead of emerging threats?

Here at Webhelp and Gobeyond Partners, our mission is to be leaders and experts in delivering low risk solutions that help our clients to innovate and stay safe.

In this new series, we’ll be providing some insight and perspective into some of the key questions that we work to solve in partnership with our clients.

  • AI has huge potential to transform customer experience in my business. But how do I safely move from small scale experimentation to deployment at scale?
  • In a world of increasing regulatory burden, how can I use digital technology to automate compliance activities?
  • My firm is part of a critical national infrastructure, but I have a large amount of legacy applications that provide critical economic functions. How can I accelerate transformation of my business without putting these at risk?
  • My business has made massive investments in digitisation, but my control environment is still analogue. How do I pivot to the new without losing control?
  • How do I attract new skills in digital, analytics and cyber into my Risk function?
  • Now that home working is part of the new norm, how do I deliver leading edge cyber security with world-class colleague experience?

Innovation

End-to-end collaboration

By encouraging and facilitating collaboration between different teams, this helps teams reach outside their own comfort zones, think differently, and better consider the customer and colleague experience from beginning to end.

 

Understanding new technology

New developments in technology are the cornerstone to enabling businesses to innovate, operate effectively, and react quickly. But with the adoption of new technology inevitably come new risks, and new challenges. Foremost importance should be placed on understanding these implications, and ensuring the safe deployment of the new technology.

 

At Webhelp, we work every day to drive innovation, with control by design. We adapt and innovate – in our technology, our mindset and our operational practices – and continue to push the boundaries of what we can do for our clients. But at the heart of everything we do is a focus on delivering low risk solutions, helping our clients to innovate while remaining safe, now and in the future.

 

In Risk & Innovation, our new series of articles and white papers, we’ll be exploring how emerging technologies can be used to help companies stay safe while maintaining necessary growth and agility. The first in the series, Bots, Bias & Bigotry- Safe scaling of AI, will arrive on Monday March 22, and will address the fairness, privacy and operational safeguards you need to consider when incorporating AI into your operational model.

Interested in more content from our thought-leader James Allen? Check out his earlier pieces on Taking a human centred approach to cyber security and How AI and data analytics can support vulnerable customers.


Webhelp solidifies footprint in Latin America with Dynamicall

Paris, March 9th, 2021.

Webhelp, the European leader in Customer Experience and Business Solutions, announces today that it has acquired Dynamicall, a leading Peruvian BPO player with over 4.500 employees based in Lima. This acquisition is the latest in a line of sizable and strategic M&A activities over the past five years.

Olivier Duha, Webhelp’s co-founder and CEO, declared:

“Dynamicall is an impressive organization, with a strong cultural fit with Webhelp. We have been partnering to serve several major brands successfully in 2020 and are excited to now welcome their talented teams into the Webhelp family. With its superior track record in delivering high-quality services and its attractive client base, Dynamicall reinforces our unique best-shoring capabilities for our clients.”

Dynamicall enhances Webhelp’s service portfolio in several strategic areas including Spanish and multilingual operations with on/nearshore and offshore delivery capacities for the local and international Spanish-speaking market and North America, and the potential to expand coverage for global and multilingual clients.
Latin America (LatAm), as a region driven by strong economic development, is of key interest to Webhelp. With its broad range of services tailored to clients of all sizes, from start-ups to global conglomerates, Webhelp is keen to serve its clients’ in and from this region while contributing to the local economy and creating career development opportunities. With the acquisition of Dynamicall, Webhelp now has two own sites in Latin America, in addition to the existing operations on the premises of clients in several countries in the region and greenfield sites in the pipeline. The Latin American operations will work together closely with Webhelp’s established Spanish teams, with Julio Jolin extending his responsibilities as CEO to lead LatAm.

Julio Jolin Vargas, CEO of Webhelp’s Spanish operations said:

“The incorporation of Dynamicall in the Webhelp family will strengthen our service offering for Spanish-speaking and global companies alike, looking to reinforce their operations with state-of-the-art services in the LatAm region and the world. We are very excited for this new opportunity to expand our support further for both our current clients and those to be.”

Enrique Beltran, founder and CEO of Dynamical, stated:

“We’re thrilled to take this next step in our partnership with Webhelp and merge with such a dynamic and solid leader. Thanks to the dedication and skills of all people at Dynamicall, we get to serve some of the world’s most exciting brands, and together with our new parent company, we get to expand even further, not only internationally but also in terms of capabilities.”

Webhelp will celebrate its 21st anniversary this year and has become one of the global leaders in the sector thanks to steady organic growth and acquisitions. Driven by a vision of making business more human and a strong and unique company culture motivated by an agile, start-up mindset, and over 75.000 Webhelpers bring their smarts and hearts to the table every day to help clients in a way that makes a real difference.


About Dynamicall

Dynamicall is a leading Peruvian BPO-Contact Center industry provider, offering a stable and formal employment to more than 4500 collaborators from its 2 sites in Lima. Its client portfolio includes major brands, leaders in their respective industries, across all regions of LatAm, North America, and Spain. Dynamicall’s services range from Customer Care, Sales, Back Office, Technical Support among others. Founded 13 years ago, Dynamicall has become one of the most important references in the local industry with a revenue of over 30 million USD per year.