High 5: A conversation with David Bos | 5CA

High 5: A conversation with David Bos

With over two decades of data experience, CTO David Bos has overseen rampant technological change. Confessed tech nut, data mogul, ideas man, and all-around-great-guy, we jumped at the chance to pick his brain.

David Bos

High 5: A conversation with David Bos


Words by 5CA
Photography Joris Huele
Reading time 8 min

With over two decades in the technology and data field, Chief Technology Officer David Bos has overseen his share of technological change. Confessed tech nut, data mogul, ideas man, and all-around-great-guy, we jumped at the chance to pick his brain.

We sat down with David to talk shop and share what 5CA has up in store for our clients.

What developments in the technology and data field most excite you?

David Bos: For data, developments in cloud data architecture, artificial intelligence, and machine learning have opened a new world on how we apply data to 5CA and make a difference for our clients and agent community.

The data field is maturing rapidly. Five to ten years ago, companies struggled even to access all their data. Once we gained access, we had trouble collecting useful information from all the data. Nowadays, we have access to data in our advanced data cloud, which means we can innovate and create actionable insights and add AI and machine learning components.

One example is a solution we’re developing called Agent Help. We picture Agent Help as this small, virtual genius sitting on our agents’ shoulders, whispering the right answers in their ears — we’ve already applied it to several projects.

From a technology perspective, I strongly believe in so-called citizen development: our agents build apps and automate processes and workflows as non-developers. Applying no-code business logic based on our data with an out-of-the-box user interface helps us create and innovate from within the business and closest to our clients.

Our agents are the front runners for innovation.

– David Bos, Chief Technology Officer

5CA CTO David Bos in the Utrecht HQ

Do you see any of these developments as threats or opportunities? Particularly for 5CA but also the CX world at large.

We get a lot of questions about data security and dependence on technology, which is why we focus on security and scalability by design, both for solutions and our work-from-home model.

Having your job replaced by machines is a worry that often comes up, but we believe technology creates more new jobs and opportunities. You can shift into the fear, uncertainty, and doubt mode or embrace change. Our strengths must lie in that — because changes will come, and you’d better be prepared.

I’ve worked at the intersection of data and technology for more than 23 years. I’ve seen a lot of developments. They all bring threats but also new opportunities if you’re able to anticipate them: this is the core of 5CA. We are pioneers, embrace opportunities, and stay ahead of the curve. Not only for us but for our agent community and clients, too.

Given 5CA’s remote operating model, what gives us an advantage over competitors when it comes to data?

5CA is a work-from-home pioneer. We’ve worked in the cloud for a long time. Data’s importance was always part of our CEO & Founder, Otto van Haaren’s vision. It’s a focus he’s invested in for a long time.

As a data-driven company, our advantage is the combination of CX content with in-depth sector knowledge and technology, which enables us to transform data into insights and make them truly actionable.

We currently have a team of 25 data specialists working in the data analytic space. Looking at our competitors, that’s quite large in relation to company size.

Size-wise, we’re an agile organization. We experiment a lot, test a lot, and do a lot. This pragmatic can-do mindset—combined with our Microsoft platform, which enables us to test and learn quickly—gives us a head start with our competition.

What does the future hold for our operating model? Will it be a more hybrid way of working?

Data and technology impact our operating model through three angles: automation, insights, and augmentation.

First is how we use technology and data for automation. Using low-coding and no-coding, citizen developers are crucial in our automation strategy. These enable our agents to automate from within the business and its processes, bringing content expertise together with automation.

We also use automated translation services, chatbots, and knowledge base AI like Agent Help. Our focus is increasing business value and the experience for our agents.

The second is providing actionable insights on customer journeys and player journeys, sentiment analysis, and feedback on product development that we give to our clients.

Finally, the third area is augmentation. We help our agents make better decisions, and the clients get better results. We’re constantly working to improve customer satisfaction and player satisfaction by augmenting our agents with the latest technology. For example: using AI to access the knowledge base and to share best practices.

Those three areas impact not only our operating model but also how we earn money and the services we deliver. It all ties back to our company’s innovation.

Innovation isn’t just thinking about new solutions but exploring business models. It captures our peoples’ mindset and enables them to improve and achieve more — putting automation at their fingertips with low coding is a good example. That’s why I personally don’t see changing our business model as a threat. On the contrary, it is a tremendous opportunity.

How will this affect our agents?

We are an insights-driven organization where people make a difference. You could say, “Oh, you’re a data guy, so you like robots more than people.” I don’t fit that stereotype. I’m a people person, and I believe people will always make a difference.

Agents have a paramount role in innovation and data — not only providing current services but developing new ones. For a lot of our agents, 5CA is one of their first jobs. It’s the stepping stone of their career, and they can learn a lot in the CX field.

We offer MOOCs (massive online open courses) and programs to give them even more skills. But we also use their capabilities because they’re the ones working with our clients with the end customers. Our agents are the front runners for us. They’re the tip of the spear — our most valuable asset.

So, for me, it’s about technology and about people. We can’t have one without the other. The company sells, the tech sells, but it’s our agents who make the difference.

5CA Chief Technology Officer David Bos

In broad strokes, can you give us an introduction to 5CA’s data strategy? What’s the client’s role in this, and how will collaborate with them on the solutions?

We see data as fuel for our organization, providing the basis for automation to create insights and machine data to augment our agents. Focusing on the right things is important to make our services as lean as possible. It’s the insights that create new avenues.

When we start an initiative, we start small. We develop a proof of concept with a launching customer and develop it together. From onboarding to scaling, we productize our solutions step-by-step.

We’re very alert and look closely at developments in emerging technology. We call it ‘The Art of the Possible.’ The Art of the Possible starts when we combine in a workshop what’s technically possible with concrete business problems and applications to inspire our clients to make better decisions and increase their products’ impact.

Using new tech, we want to stimulate the idea: reinvent yourself by working smarter.

How about the ‘shadow side’ of our data strategy? In which areas do we need to improve?

One of our key learnings is focus: a common trap is developing new products and working on things for months without clearly defined business value. That’s always a pitfall because enthusiasm can make people forget what’s necessary and what the definition of success looks like — we need to remind ourselves of that every day.

We need to focus, innovate with small iterations and take baby steps, focus on business value, and not underestimate the impact of what we do as a data and technology team. We differentiate by combining data with our CX content and sector expertise.

What does the data and tech department have in store for 5CA? Can we expect any exciting new products or services?

We have two very successful solutions we’re already rolling out to clients.

One is Agent Help. We’ve seen a lot of hype in the market about chatbots, but a lot of failures in that area, too. Agent Help is perfect for companies looking to enhance their chatbot solutions and is a great way to start with bots.

We’ve also started to deploy a translation portal enriched with CX terminology and sector-specific content. Basically, ticket information comes in from 90+ languages, and our platform translates it into the language you require. For example, English agents answer in English; the program then translates the answer back to the language from the original query — all in real-time, with enhanced content.

We have specific gaming content specialized for CX in the gaming industry, for example. It helps standardize and increases quality, so the customer isn’t thinking, “Hey, I’m talking to Google Translate.” So, if you have specific game terminology, you receive a translation that makes sense.

David Bos is an avid gamer with over 23 years of experience serving global customers. Currently serving as CTO at 5CA, former Deloitte CTO and technology leader. Bos is also a part-time Data & AI and Cyber Security lecturer at Amsterdam University. His specialties include technology, innovation, data & AI, automation, and cyber security.

For more information on 5CA’s data and technology solutions, visit 5CA.tech or contact us with any questions.



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