Mukund Shastri

Pioneering AI Solutions Transforming Industries

Mukund Shastri

Chief Data Science Officer & Group VP,

Comviva

Mukund Shastri stands at the forefront of the AI revolution, spearheading groundbreaking innovations that have reshaped industries and propelled businesses into the digital age. As a visionary tech leader, Mukund has made an indelible mark in the field of artificial intelligence in the domains of telecom, manufacturing, retail, e-commerce, and banking. Having worked with the big sharks of these industries, including GE, GE Plastics, Emerson Climate Technologies, Tata Steel, Audi, RTA Dubai, Walmart India, Ericsson, Capgemini, Infosys, Wipro, Patni, and Mindtree, he has pioneered transformative solutions that have redefined the way these organisations harness data and insights. With an illustrious career spanning over two decades, Mukund has consistently pushed the boundaries of what’s possible in AI, Data and Analytics. His expertise and ingenuity have enabled him to develop cutting-edge products and solutions that address complex challenges and unlock new opportunities for growth. How? Let us explore.

Can you outline your career journey and the evolution of your leadership style?

My journey began as a mechanical engineer at NIT Nagpur, laying the groundwork for a career that evolved through various industries. Transitioning from Tata Steel to Patni Software ignited my passion for software and data analytics. Joining the telecom sector at Reliance Infocom provided insights into data visualisation and analytics. Roles at Wipro, Infosys, and Capgemini further honed my leadership skills and expertise in analytics and big data solutions. Now, as Chief Data Science Officer at Comviva, I lead a team dedicated to leveraging AI and analytics to enhance our product offerings. Throughout, my leadership style evolved around continuous learning, adaptability, and a pursuit of excellence.

Can you describe a personally significant project and its importance?

One project close to my heart is the MobiLytix AIx – an AI experience platform for Marketing at Comviva. This innovation streamlines AI model creation for telecom marketers, democratising AI in the industry. We aimed to reduce costs and enhance efficiency, revolutionising AI deployment. This project’s significance lies in its potential to empower telecom marketers with AI’s insights without extensive technical knowledge. By democratising AI, we enhance customer experiences and optimise marketing strategies. The project represents years of expertise in AI, Data and Analytics, underscoring our commitment to driving tangible value for both telecom companies and their customers.

Could you detail your patented inventions?

Throughout my career, I’ve several patent eligible inventions in AI and data analytics. One notable invention is the Customer Analytics for Telecom platform, which offers comprehensive insights into customer data. Leveraging advanced analytics, it analyses behaviour, preferences, and trends, enabling tailored marketing strategies. Consolidating data provides a holistic view, fostering growth and optimisation. Additionally, I’ve patented inventions in predictive analytics, AI-driven marketing, and customer lifecycle management. These reflect my commitment to innovation and driving tangible value for businesses and customers, pushing the boundaries of AI and data analytics.

How did you establish a highperformance team for your CoE in India?

Building a high-performance team for our Centre of Excellence (CoE) in India involved strategic planning, talent acquisition, and ongoing support. We fostered a culture of growth, encouraging learning and skill expansion. The emphasis was on mentoring home-grown freshers/staff from training to execution. This investment empowered team members to excel and make a meaningful impact. Our approach resulted in a culture of excellence and collaboration, driving significant innovation for our organisation.

What unique AI challenges have you addressed?

Throughout my career, crafting solutions for a telecom giant’s complex customer base has stood out as a significant challenge. Developing predictive models was daunting, but ensuring their explainability to stakeholders posed an equal hurdle. To overcome this, my team and I meticulously designed a suite of AI models tailored to dissect various customer behaviours. Rigorous validation procedures were implemented to ensure the accuracy of the model. We prioritised intuitive visualisation tools and comprehensive training programmes to facilitate stakeholder comprehension. Our success stemmed from technical prowess, creativity, and collaborative effort, driving tangible impact for our organisation and its clientele.

What awards or recognition have you received for your contributions?

Throughout my career, I’ve been honoured with various awards and recognitions for my contributions to AI and data analytics. Notably, we received the Juniper Award for Best Telecom Innovation in AI, highlighting our impact on advancing AI solutions in telecom. Additionally, we earned the Leading Lights award for AI innovation in the customer domain, competing with industry giants like Microsoft. Recognition from the Government of India (GAIA) and the Economic Times (ET DataCon) further validates our innovation. These accolades affirm our dedication to excellence and inspire continued innovation for our organisation and clients. At Comviva, I received Pinnacle Award for creating value driven and cost-effective AI, analytics CoE from scratch while managing customer satisfaction at the peak.

What's your vision for the future of AI and its industry applications?

The future of AI holds transformative potential across industries like healthcare, finance, retail, telecommunications, manufacturing and banking. Advanced AI technologies will drive efficiency, revolutionising customer service, diagnostic tools, and market analysis. In healthcare, AI can improve patient outcomes through early disease detection and personalised treatment plans. Similarly, in finance, AI-driven algorithms enable real-time trading decisions and risk management. Embracing AI will be pivotal for organisations seeking a competitive edge and unlocking new opportunities for growth and success. Further, generative AI driven solutions will bring in more automation, efficiency/productivity improvement and new innovative use cases which were otherwise not possible technically.

What advice do you have for aspiring leaders and innovators in AI and data analytics?

My advice to aspiring leaders and innovators in AI and data analytics is to prioritise continuous learning, collaboration, and ethical leadership. Stay updated on the latest advancements and embrace interdisciplinary collaboration. Don’t shy away from taking risks and learning from failures. Uphold integrity and social responsibility, considering broader impacts. By fostering these qualities, you can unlock potential and contribute to AI and data analytics, making a positive impact on society.