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Cognizant CEO: We're Seeing High Growth Around Using AI To Automate Business Processes

Francisco D'Souza touts a new era of artificial intelligence and an 'infusion of digital' as key to driving growth for the solution provider.

Cognizant CEO Francisco D’Souza said a new era of artificial intelligence and an ’infusion of digital’ are driving growth for the Teaneck, N.J.-based solution provider, No. 7 on the 2017 CRN Solution Provider 500.

"Digital engineers, which is sort of the new way of app development, is obviously high growth," D'Souza told Wall Street analysts Monday on the company’s first-quarter earnings call. "And continuing with what we call digital systems and technology, things like cybersecurity, talent migration, re-platforming to the cloud, all of those are, I would say, high growth."

Artificial intelligence-based autonomy, backed by sensors, analytics and machine learning, have made machines more versatile and self-driven, D'Souza said.

"Within the digital operations business, the high-growth parts are robotic process automation, intelligence process automation, using other forms of automation and artificial intelligence to automate business processes," he said. "And then within our digital business practice, virtually all of that is higher growth."

Cognizant CFO Karen McLoughlin said the solution provider’s ability to deliver a wider range of health-care solutions has opened the door to new opportunities with small and midsize customers, making the company bullish about the vertical’s long-term benefits.

Key to the new solutions was Cognizant’s $500 million purchase of Bolder Healthcare Solutions last quarter. The Louisville, Ky.-based company specializes in delivering revenue cycle management solutions to hospitals, physicians' offices and other health-care organizations. It employs more than 1,500 people in the U.S. and India.

"With the suite of offerings that we have now in health care and with the Bolder acquisition in particular, it really does open up that full end-to-end market of not just the payers, which has been our historical strength, but also the provider market," she said. "And now with the platforms we have between Bolder and TriZetto and so forth, we can really offer that full-service suite for clients."

For its first quarter ended March 31, Cognizant said that the number of health-care customers it serves climbed 11.8 percent. The solution provider reported revenue of $3.91 billion, an increase of 10.3 percent compared with the $3.55 billion in 2017’s first quarter. Cognizant’s stock, however, was down $4.00, or 4.87 percent, to $78.17 in trading midday Monday.

The company recorded GAAP net income of $520 million, or 88 cents per diluted share, compared with $557 million, or 92 cents per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2017.

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