Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the future, and for a financial technology solutions company, AI capabilities have to be adopted across levels. That is, why Naspers-owned PayU has been providing AI training to all its employees across functions and levels, starting from leadership roles to the entry level. The Company has a formalised AI-learning strategy in place.
In fact, this initiative is driven by Naspers itself, by running an internal programme called ‘MyAcademy’, which designs as well as executes the AI-learning strategy.
“The initiative began a year back to ensure that AI is easily understood by all, so that it is embraced efficiently in our day to day life. The aim was to help everyone understand how data helps in making work more effective,” says Ashish Chattoraj, CHRO, PayU India.
“Besides our inhouse facility ‘MyAcademy’, we have also collaborated with other learning platforms, such as Udemy and Coursera,” adds Chattoraj.
The learning programme has been segregated into three broad categories:
AI for leaders: As is evident, this learning module is targeted at the leadership team, and is also referred to as ‘AI for Growth’. The training is completed over three full days – and the leaders learn how to leverage AI, sustainably and ethically, to accelerate growth and increase the scaling potential of AI for their business.
AI for professionals and experts: This module is for business analysts, data scientists and machine-learning engineers at all experience levels. Comprising specific AI-related content, it enables them to learn how to influence strategy from an AI perspective.
AI for everyone: This module is open for all PayU employees, to understand the basics of AI and identify where all AI and ML can support them at work. This is available as part of the internal academy ‘MyAcademy’, as well as through the collaboration with external learning providers, such as Udemy and Coursera, which offers specific AI-related content.
The initiative began a year back to ensure that AI is easily understood by all, so that it is embraced efficiently in our day to day life. The aim was to help everyone understand how data helps in making work more effective
In addition, employees can also apply for Nanodegrees by Udacity. For this, they have to complete three to six-month long topnotch learning programmes to build real technical skills, in about 10 hours a week. At the end of the course, the employees receive an industry-valued degree.
“In our leadership domain, the entire segment has been thorough with this learning module and for the rest module, 30 per cent of our staff has completed the course already and the mandatory courses have been completed by all our employees,” shares Chattoraj.
Sharing the need to emphasise AI training and learning, Chattoraj says, “People perceive this domain as Latin and Greek. Initially, employees didn’t see a dire need for organisations to imbibe AI learning in their respective organistions, as they never understood its usage.”
“The challenge actually was to make them understand the role of AI and how it was going to ease their usual day-to-day issues at work. People were skeptical that introduction of AI will rob them of their livelihood, and hence, it was important for us to make them realise that its usage was only to ease the routine pressures and not replace manpower,” explains Chattoraj.
Getting various data scientists and data engineers on board too was a challenge for PayU, as it needed experts to train the people on this technology.
When asked to evaluate the success of this programme, Chattoraj reveals, “It is difficult to say just yet, as 6-8 months isn’t the adequate time to begin to reap results. But we have been fairly successful in embedding the thought in the minds of our employees, that knowledge of AI will only upgrade them and not rob them of their jobs.”