In the world of technology, there are few individuals who are as forward-thinking, disciplined and innovative as Krishna C. Mukherjee. His professional career spans over 30 years. He is a Microsoft veteran who played a pivotal role in the creation and development of Microsoft Office and Windows.
Over the years, Mukherjee has made highly significant contributions in the areas of software architecture, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cloud computing. He has provided some of the leading AI technologies that have streamlined and automated critical business processes. His foundational work in creating the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model continues to improve the way we use technology today. His work impacts the lives of billions of people around the world.
A Background of Excellence
Mukherjee attributes much of his success to the character traits that his parents instilled in him from a young age. They impressed upon him the importance of, in his words, “honesty, perseverance and thrift.” Their advice inspires him to use his determination and creativity to overcome the obstacles that come in his way.
Mukherjee’s career success is founded on a solid educational background. He completed his school education at Don Bosco School in Kolkata, India. He went on to study engineering at the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). Mukherjee earned his bachelor’s degree (B.Tech) in Electronics and Electrical Communication Engineering from IIT Kharagpur and his master’s degree (M.Tech) in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT Kanpur. He specialized in AI and Robotics. While at the IITs, Mukherjee conducted innovative research, wrote excellent theses and published papers in AI conferences. His exceptional work caught the attention of leading universities and organizations.
In 1988, Microsoft recruited Mukherjee from IIT Kanpur to lead the architecture and development efforts for the organization. He joined Microsoft at its headquarters in Redmond, Washington. At that time, Microsoft had started to gain footing in the software industry with the MS-DOS operating system.
Mukherjee worked for Microsoft as Lead Architect and Engineer. He led the design and development of many features and technologies for Microsoft Office and Windows. These include page layout and formatting, printing, proofing tools such as Spelling, Grammar and Thesaurus, WordBASIC, Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE), Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) and Component Object Model (COM).
Mukherjee utilized his research experience in AI to build intelligent interfaces for Microsoft products. He and his teams developed the AutoFormat and Office Assistant (Clippit) features for Microsoft Office, and the IntelliSense feature for Visual Studio.
Mukherjee invented disruptive technology to automate workflows. He pioneered the creation of frameworks for generating graphical user interfaces specified in declarative mark-up languages. Microsoft developed Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML) and Silverlight technologies under his leadership.
Mukherjee demonstrated how to achieve agility and collaboration by empowering domain experts and software developers to work together seamlessly. User interface designers use a tool called Expression Blend to work on the visual elements of WPF applications and generate the XAML content. Expression Blend was integrated into Visual Studio and named as Blend. User interface designers and software developers work on the same project simultaneously in Blend and Visual Studio respectively.
Mukherjee’s amazing contributions helped Microsoft to become a household name and an industry leader. Microsoft journals featured Mukherjee. He received multiple awards from Microsoft that recognize his excellent work and outstanding contributions to the Information Technology industry.
AI and Workflow Automation
Before the late 1990s, manual filings took a significant amount of time for most businesses. Insurance was one of the most heavily regulated industries in USA. Large insurance companies had to file about 700 different types of paper forms to conduct business in every state of USA. Annual reporting, rates, policies, approval for underwriting, regulatory requirements and the oversight of sales personnel generated volumes of paperwork that had to be completed by the insurance companies. Doctors, accountants, lawyers and finance professionals had to deal with similar challenges.
In 1996, Mukherjee joined Wolters Kluwer in Manhattan, New York City, so that he could research and solve the high-volume forms publishing problem. In 1997-1998, he invented the Intelligent Filing Manager (INTELLIFM) to improve the way companies handle substantial volumes of information. INTELLIFM is customer-centric software that organizes and process necessary information. It uses a dynamic and adaptive Question and Answering (Q&A) component that allows professionals to efficiently answer questions as they perform steps in a workflow. It enables them to perform electronic filings in the 50 states of USA and Washington DC.
Filings undergo frequent changes due to state regulations. Mukherjee’s software architecture can handle frequent changes. He created a knowledge base generation system with built-in natural language processing. Using this system, domain experts specify the user-interface elements in declarative mark-up language and the business rules in natural language. When business requirements change, as they inevitably will, domain experts update the user-interface elements and the business rules. Software developers do not have to edit the core code, compile, test and deploy the applications. This flexibility allows the INTELLIFM software to quickly respond to changes. The software is easy to maintain, update and scale. INTELLIFM facilitates team collaboration by allowing technical and non-technical team members to work together seamlessly to develop and maintain the software applications for the enterprise.
Mukherjee explains, “Intelligent Filing Manager provides a better, smarter and efficient way to perform complex, multi-jurisdictional filings electronically and maintain the forms. Before my invention, industries like banking and insurance used to manually fill, file and manage all their business data. Intelligent Filing Manager created a one-stop solution that eases high-volume forms publishing, where large sets of various forms needed to be filed simultaneously. My invention automates complex workflows in a user-friendly manner. It enables enterprises to effectively engage with their customers and become highly profitable.”
Mukherjee served as the Chief Information Officer for Wolters Kluwer. He spearheaded the development of award-winning e-commerce websites, such as CTAdvantage.com and hCue.com. These websites are the first of their kind in the world. Large enterprises do not have to install and run applications on their computers or in their own data centers. Instead, they use these websites to effectively manage dynamic information, speed up enterprise workflows and make critical business decisions.
Mukherjee transitioned Wolters Kluwer from paper-based to electronic processes. He enabled the company to become a global leader in providing information services. He selected Microsoft Windows servers to host the award-winning websites. By doing so, he helped Microsoft to gain recognition and get established in the enterprise software market.
The INTELLIFM technology has been recognized for innovation at technology conferences across the world. The technology is patented in USA and other countries. In the late 1990s, Mukherjee ushered in the era of utilizing AI for workflow automation.
Innovations in the Finance Industry
As Mukherjee grew in his career, he found a new calling in the finance industry. “Finance is a very important sector of our society,” he said. “I have devoted my time and efforts to create technology that impacts the lives of people who work in this industry.”
From 2004 to 2011, Mukherjee worked in senior capacities for global financial institutions Citadel, Bloomberg and UBS. He directed the development of strategic software applications for these institutions. During this time, he created the architecture for and directed the development of the widely used Bloomberg Valuation Service (BVAL). It provides credible, transparent and defensible prices for a broad spectrum of financial instruments including derivatives and structured notes.
Pricing is foundational to the finance industry. Everyone from traders, portfolio managers, risk committees, boards, regulators and investors depend on the results. Therefore, precision is necessary and expected. BVAL starts with the highest quality data integrated across a wide cross-section of market contributors. The data is scrubbed, cleansed and verified with every input and the output is tested for quality and consistency. Errors, inconsistencies and outliers are analyzed and fixed. The data validation and cleansing techniques make sure the valuation has the highest possible precision.
In the past, pricing services relied on models that generated the prices based on comparable securities and market opinions. Very few securities had visible and liquid market activity that could be used to generate the prices. Consequently, the prices were subjective and erroneous. The key to BVAL’s pricing methodology is its access to a wealth of market observations from thousands of contributed price sources. The accumulated mass of market data serves as the driver of a quantitative approach that Mukherjee adopted for designing BVAL. With this approach, BVAL first prices actively-traded securities and then uses these values to derive the prices for comparable securities that trade less frequently. BVAL employs quantitative algorithms for calibrating the prices accurately and in an objective manner. It provides the desired thoroughness by performing a sophisticated time-series analysis of the highest quality market data available.
Mukherjee built BVAL with the goal of fostering trust and confidence. Each price valuation receives a BVAL score. This score is a metric designed to gauge the amount and consistency of market data used in calculating the price for a security. A score is calculated for each algorithm. The individual scores are then appropriately weighted to derive a final BVAL score that is measured on a scale of 1 (the lowest) to 10 (the highest). “I have carefully designed BVAL with focus on the visibility of the prices that are provided to the end users,” Mukherjee said. “There is no pricing service that provides more transparency than BVAL. The financial institutions function with confidence and without errors when they use BVAL for pricing.”
Mukherjee created the BVAL pricing framework with well-defined architectural components, such as Security Adder, Front Door, Accumulator and Snapshot Engine. The framework is reusable, scalable and maintainable. Mukherjee designed BVAL to produce snapshots of security prices at designated times across the globe, such as Tokyo 3:00 PM, London 3:00 PM and New York 3:00 PM. The prices can be viewed on screen and can be consumed by calling services. Bloomberg launched BVAL in 2008. In the early stages, BVAL priced a few thousand securities daily. BVAL’s framework allows it to scale rapidly to meet customer demands. At present, BVAL prices millions of securities daily.
BVAL harnesses the capabilities of scalable architecture and predictive analysis to provide highly accurate, unbiased and transparent valuations. By creating and overseeing BVAL, Mukherjee helped the finance industry to become more objective and reliable.
Development of AutoPay
After his success in the finance industry, Mukherjee focused on automating processes in the space management and retail industries. Icon Parking Systems (Icon) is a leader in branded parking services with more than three hundred locations in Manhattan, New York City. More than forty thousand cars are parked daily at the company’s locations.
Mukherjee served as the Head of Software Development for Icon. He transitioned Icon’s business from VAX mainframe to a hybrid cloud environment.
He and his teams created the IconParkingSystems.com site that allows customers to sign up for monthly, daily and hourly parking at Icon’s locations. They also created the company’s internal web-based accounting system that allows Icon’s employees to enter and update customer information, post recurring charges, issue debits and credits, process payments, view ledger balances, prepare monthly and new customer billing, generate invoices and perform other business critical activities. Mukherjee selected Microsoft technologies to build the cloud-based platform for Icon.
One of the greatest conveniences to users in the modern era is the ability to safely automate payments on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis. In 2012, Mukherjee created the automated payment feature referred to as AutoPay. This feature enables customers to make reservations and purchases online using electronic checks (ACH), as well as credit and debit cards. The customers set up instructions and the payments are automatically deducted from their accounts. AutoPay is convenient, economical and secure. It is a win-win proposition. It is convenient for customers because their payments are made safely, correctly and on time. It also benefits businesses because they receive regular payments from their customers.
Icon’s customers use the AutoPay feature for paying their bills. Icon was relieved of the burden of processing cash and paper checks. The company became efficient and highly profitable. It reopened closed locations and acquired new ones. Mukherjee’s brilliant innovation was quickly picked up by companies around the world. Today, the AutoPay feature is used worldwide across various industries.
Under Mukherjee’s leadership, Icon innovated in a way like the retail industry. The company developed a strong online presence to boost its long-time business of providing parking services.
Mukherjee Today: Omni-Channel Retailing, Apple Pay and Revolutionizing Retail
Mukherjee has been associated as a Senior Executive with KWI in Greenvale, New York. The company provides a cloud-based platform and technical expertise to help retailers streamline their processes, create a holistic customer experience, sell more and become profitable. In the current market, many retailers find themselves in the limbo of providing both a physical location and a digital presence.
Old brick-and-mortar stores are creating online stores to allow their customers to shop in the way they prefer.
Mukherjee has directed the development of mobile and e-commerce applications that are the foundation of omni-channel retailing. His innovations allow customers to enjoy a seamless experience whether they are physically in a store or shopping online. He has enhanced mobile security and privacy for customers by directing the development of a payment system that uses Apple Pay. This system allows customers to keep a contactless digital wallet that they can use in-person, online or through apps on their mobile devices.
Additionally, Mukherjee offers strategic management consulting services to premier organizations. He helps them to create their enterprise architectures. He mentors teams to innovate in the areas of cloud computing, AI and blockchain technology. He helps these organizations to adopt Microsoft products and technologies.
The Keys to Mukherjee’s Success
Diverse industries, such as legal, insurance, finance, healthcare and retail, use Mukherjee’s cloud-based products. Over the years, through his innovations, Mukherjee has created the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model that is foundational to businesses.
What has made Mukherjee successful in all the projects he has been involved across different industries? He recommends maintaining a healthy dose of curiosity and humility. Information Technology is an industry in constant flux. Many leaders find themselves suddenly behind and obsolete. Mukherjee, on the other hand, has remained relevant and groundbreaking during his long career. He continues to learn about Information Technology. He said, “To me, the face of Information Technology is always changing. Learning helps me keep my knowledge current and sharpen my mind.” And, knowledge leads to humility. Mukherjee knows that there is always more to learn. He emphasizes that ego gets in the way of innovation. “Ego prevents the accumulation of ideas,” he said. “Humility, on the other hand, is like a lake that gathers water. Humility allows ideas to accumulate and businesses to flourish.”
Mukherjee has worked with some of the best business leaders. He is grateful to his family, friends and colleagues. They are his ardent admirers. They provide him encouragement and motivation. Mukherjee said, “I am fortunate to have great family, friends and colleagues who inspire me.”
Mukherjee’s focus, resourcefulness and dedication have led to some of the most innovative software products and services that we use in our everyday lives. He has helped to build the foundation for the Information Technology industry. He is a pioneer who continues to find creative solutions to solve problems in the world of business and technology.