Digital Transformation

RPG Group's Tryst With Generative AI Cuts Across Businesses

CDO Amol Deshpande on Embracing Generative AI for Growth and Customer Experience
RPG Group's Tryst With Generative AI Cuts Across Businesses
Amol Deshpande, group chief digital officer and head of innovation, RPG Group

RPG Group is an Indian multinational conglomerate comprising over 15 companies spanning various sectors, including infrastructure development, tire manufacturing, life sciences, agriculture and information technology. Keeping pace with the rapid changes, the group has started leveraging frontier technologies to drive innovation.

In an interview with Information Security Media Group, Amol Deshpande, RPG Group's chief digital officer and head of innovation, discussed the company's digital initiatives centered on AI, technology adoption, change management and people-centric approach.

Edited excerpts follow:

As chief digital officer and head of innovation for the group, what is your role and vision for driving digital transformation and innovation?

Aligning with the business objectives of the group, we are focusing on enabling productivity, agility and future readiness. It is about striking a balance between innovation and the pragmatic considerations of cost and benefits. To keep pace with the times, we need to be agile and proactive. By fostering a culture of open communication and education, we not only navigate the dynamic waves but also thrive in this changing landscape.

How do you see AI impacting business strategies and operations? How are you leveraging generative AI?

AI and generative AI have found prominence in our digital strategy. We believe that these technologies have significant transformation potential. There is enough curiosity about its potential impact and appetite, led by the group leadership, to try this technology across the organization. However, it comes with challenges, such as hallucination and contextual errors. The complexity involved in creating personalized AI models is underscored, given the importance of data availability, accuracy and privacy.

Nonetheless, AI is core to our digital road map. Our focus on enhancing productivity, especially in multilingual communication, is a testament to our commitment to innovation. One of our notable achievements is the integration of generative AI in operations. Tangible benefits emerge in large-scale documentation scenarios as well. We have undertaken generative-AI-based solutions to support product inquiries and script creation to demonstrate how AI can aid in the rapid validation of business ideas.

Our marketing and branding team is equally innovative in experimenting with AI-driven communication. Hello Happiness, AI versus AI, AI-wali Diwali are some of the popular campaigns where we aim not only to engage but inspire leveraging that technology. When harnessed creatively, [AI] can truly elevate the experience.

Do you have any initiatives centered on generative AI? How do you envision those contributing to the group's growth and competitiveness?

Yes, we are in our Industry 4.0 journey. CEAT - one of our group companies - is the first tire manufacturer globally to bag a certification from the World Economic Forum's Global Lighthouse Network, which highlights our commitment to transformative principles. We also have exciting developments in the agritech space, where we are aiming to transform how cultivation stages are predicted and simulated, specializing in the crops we grow.

We underscore the importance of possessing contextually correct and factually accurate data, which is foundational in shaping our AI models. This commitment reflects our dedication to maintaining the integrity and reliability of the data driving our technological initiatives.

We are leveraging not only AI but also other emerging technologies to create impact and make a difference. RPG’s flagship campus engagement program for premium business schools is now deployed on the Metaverse platform. This season of Blizzard - RPG Group's case study competition - helped students explore their passions, relate it to the workplace, and create something impactful with societal benefit at the core. The platform provided unique opportunity for students to engage, explore and enhance their skills. The winning solutions addressed unique approaches such as music in healthcare, focus on mental well-being and rural development, which reflects RPG's dedication to societal impact and technological advancement.

How do you address the negative perceptions of AI, especially concerning job security? How is the culture of embracing new technologies instilled?

It's important to foster a culture of innovation and collaboration. Integrating technology with human expertise or creativity results in enhancing our capabilities rather than replacing them. We emphasize change management through our digital academy, Group Digital Academy. This introduces employees to emerging technologies - fostering awareness and curiosity and creating a structured method to nurture technology champions within business. The emphasis is on demystifying emerging technologies, showcasing its role in easing processes, reducing turnaround times and increasing efficiency. By showcasing real-world instances, encouraging hands-on training, and conducting engaging educational series, RPG ensures that employees view AI as a tool for improving processes and efficiency rather than a threat to job security.

Prior to joining the RPG Group, Deshpande had a 15-year stint at Mahindra Rise, where he was the head of digital - farm and agriculture sector.

About the Author

Smruti Gandhi

Smruti Gandhi

Executive Editor, ISMG

Gandhi has more than a decade of experience in community engagement and incubating industry events. She is extremely proactive in building engagements with communities including CEO, CFOs and CIOs. Prior to joining ISMG, she worked with Dun & Bradstreet and Great Place to Work.

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