Welcome!

@ThingsExpo Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Zakia Bouachraoui

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, @CloudExpo, @DXWorldExpo, @DevOpsSummit

@ThingsExpo: Blog Post

Digital - Design Thinking = Status Quo | @ThingsExpo #IoT #DigitalTransformation

Importance of Design Thinking in Digital Transformation Initiatives

Today organizations are spending millions on digital transformation initiatives - integrating advanced analytics, AI and platforms. While this is the best portfolio for them to invest on, they need to periodically step back and evaluate the end objectives. As I look back at my own experiences as a customer to my multiple 'digitally enabled' service providers I realize that there is a lot of ground to be covered in terms of meeting customer expectations even with their present digital arsenal. Application of design thinking approaches to better map customer experiences and journeys should be a pre-requisite for any digital roadmap.

Every time I call up any customer support and here the familiar 'all our representatives are busy dealing with other customers', that my call is very important to them and from the more technologically advanced ones that I am '4th in the queue and my approximate wait time is 23 minutes', I wonder why can't they simply call me back when they are free? They already have my contact number. Some of them actually play some music while I wait - which is still better than those who actually take that opportunity to inform me about their new products.

Have you realized that you might be flying an airline, staying in particular hotel chain or visiting a retailer for ages but unless you sign-up for their rewards / loyalty program you're actually invisible to them? I know there are customer privacy issues at play and a customer might be using different payment options everytime but even then doesn't a customer leave enough footprint to enable them to keep track? Everytime they ask me to sign-up and be given a fancy membership card, I want to ask them that 'doesn't your system tell you that I've been visiting you for the last 1 year,  how much I've already spent on your products / services' and the fact I've even taken the trouble of filling up your feedback forms? Does anybody in your organization take the trouble of going through that data?

Two weeks back, on a sunny Sunday morning as I was returning home from the regular weekly provisions chore, my car suddenly died on me on a state highway. As I tried to pull to the side I realized that the road had no shoulder. Luckily there was nobody tailing me but I did see not so distant headlights on the rearview (for those wondering, in US it is normal to have headlights on even on the sunniest days). I quickly came out and started waving at the cars speeding towards me so that they get time to move to the other lane safely.

Meanwhile, I also I realized that I need to call my emergency roadside assistance provider. My cell phone being in the car, I quickly ran back, grabbed the phone, looked up their number and called them - without interrupting the constant waving action to ensure that I don't get buried under not only a pile of cars but probably also charges of criminal negligence.

The moment the call got connected, I quickly explained my situation and shared my exact location (luckily I knew). To my surprise, the first thing the lady at the other end asked me was my 16 digit membership number!  It took her 10 painful minutes - after I had shared my mobile number, last name, first name, mailing address - to identify me. All this in the middle of a highway with cars speeding towards me at 50 miles per hour! The lady also reminded me that I need to inform the police as I was blocking traffic, which I had hoped she would volunteer to do on my behalf. To be fair to her, AFTER she had identified me, a service car arrived within 30 minutes.

As I look back at these experiences and countless others, I realize that some of them could be due to technical limitations but my gut feel is that the issue is deeper - a lack of appreciation of an actual customer experience - leading to missing use-cases. This suddenly made me pay more attention to a concept which has caught the popular imagination in the recent past - design thinking.

One popular and good case study of design thinking is the Danish 'good kitchen' story - a story of how the problem of malnourished elderly got solved by observing not only the behavior and emotional perspective of the subjects themselves but also those serving them. If you dig deeper you'll realize that it is less about 'what' solutions emerged (although they were remarkable for sure) and much more about 'how' they emerged. The whole practice of literally getting under the skin of the end users to view things from their perspective, removing the sequential process walls between data collection, analysis and solution building and taking a more concurrent approach, a much deeper involvement of the stakeholders themselves in the whole solution design process - all of these are a process approach to arrive at the elusive end goal of superior customer experience.

The whole function of customer support - providing multiple channels to customers to reach out and once they do - how to greet them, listen to them, understand them and their situation at the time of the call, anticipating their implicit needs and then respond to them - would benefit a lot with a generous dose of design thinking. Of course, it would benefit the product / service design function itself - but that's the bigger fish.

Today, every organization is spending millions on digital transformation initiatives - the future is digital. However, while the technologies driving us towards the promised land of digital nirvana might be new, the end objective is as old as business itself - that of enriching customer experience. That has always been the holy grail of every business - to be able to observe their customers so very minutely to be able to better anticipate what exhilarates or disappoints them. But technology alone won't deliver the goods - it never has. Without a more concerted effort to appreciate the customer journey and empathize with their experience, all these technologies might end up solving the wrong problems. I sincerely hope that all those digital evangelists embrace this simple to understand but difficult to implement 'design thinking' approach in their transformation roadmap. Otherwise, after the journey they'll realize that they've come back to the starting point!

More Stories By Sujoy Sen

Sujoy is a TOGAF Certified Enterprise Architect, a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt and Manager of Organizational Excellence from American Society for Quality, a PMP, a CISA, an Agile Coach, a Devops Evangelist and lately, a Digital enthusiast. With over 20 years of professional experience now, he has led multiple consulting engagements with Fortune 500 customers across the globe. He has a Masters Degree in Quality Management and a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering. He is based out of New Jersey.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...