Welcome!

@ThingsExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, William Schmarzo

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Recurring Revenue, Artificial Intelligence, @CloudExpo, @DXWorldExpo

@ThingsExpo: Article

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

Today, every organization is spending millions on digital transformation initiatives - the future is digital

Every time I call up any customer support and hear 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 'fourth 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 every time but even then doesn't a customer leave enough footprint to enable them to keep track? Every time 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 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 in the rear view mirror (for those wondering, in the U.S. it is normal to have headlights on even on the sunniest days). I quickly came out and started waving at the cars speeding toward me so that they had time to move to the other lane safely.

Meanwhile, I also I realized that I needed 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 toward 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 feeling 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
Intel is an American multinational corporation and technology company headquartered in Santa Clara, California, in the Silicon Valley. It is the world's second largest and second highest valued semiconductor chip maker based on revenue after being overtaken by Samsung, and is the inventor of the x86 series of microprocessors, the processors found in most personal computers (PCs). Intel supplies processors for computer system manufacturers such as Apple, Lenovo, HP, and Dell. Intel also manufactu...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understa...
AI and machine learning disruption for Enterprises started happening in the areas such as IT operations management (ITOPs) and Cloud management and SaaS apps. In 2019 CIOs will see disruptive solutions for Cloud & Devops, AI/ML driven IT Ops and Cloud Ops. Customers want AI-driven multi-cloud operations for monitoring, detection, prevention of disruptions. Disruptions cause revenue loss, unhappy users, impacts brand reputation etc.
Apptio fuels digital business transformation. Technology leaders use Apptio's machine learning to analyze and plan their technology spend so they can invest in products that increase the speed of business and deliver innovation. With Apptio, they translate raw costs, utilization, and billing data into business-centric views that help their organization optimize spending, plan strategically, and drive digital strategy that funds growth of the business. Technology leaders can gather instant recomm...
OpsRamp is an enterprise IT operation platform provided by US-based OpsRamp, Inc. It provides SaaS services through support for increasingly complex cloud and hybrid computing environments from system operation to service management. The OpsRamp platform is a SaaS-based, multi-tenant solution that enables enterprise IT organizations and cloud service providers like JBS the flexibility and control they need to manage and monitor today's hybrid, multi-cloud infrastructure, applications, and wor...
The Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence (MSAI) provides a comprehensive framework of theory and practice in the emerging field of AI. The program delivers the foundational knowledge needed to explore both key contextual areas and complex technical applications of AI systems. Curriculum incorporates elements of data science, robotics, and machine learning-enabling you to pursue a holistic and interdisciplinary course of study while preparing for a position in AI research, operations, ...
After years of investments and acquisitions, CloudBlue was created with the goal of building the world's only hyperscale digital platform with an increasingly infinite ecosystem and proven go-to-market services. The result? An unmatched platform that helps customers streamline cloud operations, save time and money, and revolutionize their businesses overnight. Today, the platform operates in more than 45 countries and powers more than 200 of the world's largest cloud marketplaces, managing mo...
I spend a lot of time helping organizations to “think like a data scientist.” My book “Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science” has several chapters devoted to helping business leaders to embrace the power of data scientist thinking. My Big Data MBA class at the University of San Francisco School of Management focuses on teaching tomorrow’s business executives the power of analytics and data science to optimize key business processes, uncover new monetization opportunities an...
Trend Micro Incorporated, a global leader in cybersecurity solutions, helps to make the world safe for exchanging digital information. Our innovative solutions for consumers, businesses, and governments provide layered security for data centers, cloud workloads, networks, and endpoints. All our products work together to seamlessly share threat intelligence and provide a connected threat defense with centralized visibility and investigation, enabling better, faster protection. With more than 6,00...