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Interview with our Chief Digital Officer, Diana Catalina Velásquez: our purpose is to be a Data Driven organization

Can you tell us about yourself and your division?

I am Diana Catalina Velásquez and I’m Chief Digital Officer at Konecta. It’s a role that’s very exciting and integral to the whole business because our purpose is to be a Data Driven organization that bases its strategy, culture, processes, and decision-making on data to achieve outstanding and sustainable results. And my team and I are at the heart of all that, and I’m proud of what we do and what we’re achieving.

Can you give an example of how your division is helping to deliver this purpose?

A good example is our Artificial Intelligence and Analytics department, which was established 13 years ago. It’s a global team of over 170 specialists, including data scientists, Machine Learning (ML) and data engineers, cloud specialists, and data analysts, and I have to tell you the breadth and depth of talent and expertise in the team is amazing! The main objective of the department is to develop AI and ML solutions tailored to the needs of the business and clients, enabling data-driven decision-making that allows for:

  • Improvement of internal processes
  • Operational excellence
  • Generation of business insights to provide value to clients

Any examples of how these solutions might help businesses in practice?

Well, over the past few years, we’ve created more than 30 cross-sector business solutions that apply to various industries, and these have led to improvements in the services offered by Konecta, such as digital channels (chat, WhatsApp, social media, chatbots), customer service operations, sales campaigns, collections, back-office processes, optimization of audio response channels, and overall phone channels. 

You’re probably making use of these solutions, or seeing the benefits of them, in your everyday work, wherever you work or whichever clients or sectors you work with!

How do you manage to spread AI technology through our operations in all regions?

Good question! So, in order to understand the potential use cases for AI, a comprehensive assessment of regional needs was carried out. 

And then using the results from this, we established the capabilities that need to be implemented in different countries. Because to achieve our goals on AI across our operations across all our regions and markets, it’s crucial that Konecta has T-local teams with technical skills for the application and use of AI tools. With these skills in place across the business, we are fully equipped to integrate AI with market-defined needs and the current analytics portfolio, and to consider the specificities of each sector.

How does the CEDA (Center of Excellence and Data and Analytics) fit into this picture?

Another good question! So, as part of this process of building technical AI skills across Konecta, we have decided to create the CEDA (Center of Excellence in Data and Analytics). 

The objective is to provide technical support and expertise, and to share best practices gained through the work of our teams, in close collaboration with customers, operations, and various support areas in each Konecta country. This will help us to develop valuable projects addressing highly relevant problems and challenges, which contribute to the mobilization of metrics and the generation of value.

In this way, we are promoting interregional collaboration to share knowledge and accelerate the adoption of AI throughout the organization. Ultimately, this is a process grounded in the guidance of CEDA, effective communication between teams, continuous evolution, and the adoption of best practices. All of this is done with the goal of contributing to data-driven decision-making.

What are the key challenges in coping with clients’ expectations?

Like all areas of Konecta, we always face issues such as the variety of technologies, clients’ expectations, the diversity of the geographies where we operate, and the fact that we operate in an heterogeneous environment. So, those are our shared issues across the organization.

And then we have our own specific issues too. First of all, it's essential to be aware of the importance of leveraging data for decision-making, understanding that data is one of the most valuable assets in companies and that it should be exploited for decision-making. This implies a significant cultural shift within the organization and data literacy at all levels.

Secondly, we are always seeking teams or partners with specialized talent to carry this out and align what these technologies offer with what the business, operations, and customers need in order to achieve greater efficiency, lower costs, a better customer and employee experience, increased revenue generation and/or the identification of new business opportunities.

And thirdly, having the support of IT teams and the backing of senior management is crucial to secure the necessary budget for investments in physical, human, and technological resources.

Diana Catalina Velásquez, Chief Digital Officer Konecta

It would be great to hear about your successful project clients - can you tell us about any of them?

Yes, of course! There are plenty I could tell you about, but I’ll limit myself to just a few! 

The first was the automation of the payroll process in Colombia for more than 70 clients, achieving annual savings through a reduction in overtime payments.

Another great project was in the financial sector, where we provided strategic insights to improve key performance indicators in the areas of intelligence in the collection database, improving database management, optimizing operational reporting, and implementing collaborative work between support areas.  Through this work, we increased customer satisfaction by 90+%.

And my third example is for a client in the retail sector. We migrated 23% of customers to digital channels, for which we conducted a generational segmentation analyzing the behavior of the different segments. As a result, sales increased by 10%.

And finally, we’re all hearing a lot about Generative AI, or GenAI, now. As an expert in AI and digital, can you tell us about your view on that?

Undoubtedly, Generative AI has garnered huge attention and really become a hot topic in recent years, partly thanks to significant advances in deep learning and generative neural networks. Every day, we encounter new breakthroughs and challenges emerging in the world and see them being addressed using AI. New models have been developed to generate text, images, music, and much more. Precisely with the aim of further developing solutions around Gen AI, we have recently set up a brand-new global AI acceleration office.

Clearly, AI has great potential to transform the industry, automate tasks, and contribute to content generation. But it is crucial to ensure that the content is coherent, and associated with the context, and it’s also important to consider that, in some cases, a large amount of data and computational power is required.

Furthermore, all these innovations come with ethical concerns that need to be taken into account. But research continues, and we are in this race to unlock the full potential. I have to say I’m excited about being part of this!

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