Satyam Kantamneni, Author, User Experience Design, Managing Partner at UXReactor, Educator, and Board Member
- 🌎 Satyam on LinkedIn
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- 📖 User Experience Design: A Practical Playbook to Fuel Business Growth
About this podcast episode
🎙️ Superior user experiences will fuel your business 🚀 growth
Satyam Kantamneni, author of User Experience Design: A Practical Playbook to Fuel Business Growth joins Bill Raymond in today’s podcast. Whether you build a product or offer a service, you will learn how thoughtfully curating a user’s experience can give you a competitive edge.
Throughout the podcast, Satyam and Bill Raymond share stories and real-life examples that bring these concepts to life and inspire you to adopt these ideas.
In this podcast, you will learn the following:
✅ The definition of a user experience (or UX)
✅ How to use the BV.D system to transform your organization
✅ Practical advice for making incremental user-centric improvements
🎉 Making a case for Chief Experience Office (or CXO)
(transcripts are auto-generated, so please excuse the brevity)
[00:00:00] Podcast guest clip
Bill Raymond: [00:00:00] I’m very curious to hear your thoughts on how an organization should be thinking about user experience and artificial intelligence.
Satyam Kantamneni: It all comes down to the one simple fact or foundational belief. And the foundational belief is the users are not going anywhere. In terms of they’re not, they don’t vanish.
AI is another technology. It’s a powerful technology. It’s a leapfrogging technologyAnd technology is there to solve a problem of a existing user and the intent and so on so forth.
Speaker: Welcome to the Agile in Action Podcast with Bill Raymond. Bill will explore how business disruptors are adopting agile techniques to gain a competitive advantage in this fast-paced technology driven market.
[00:00:50] Introducing Satyam Kantamneni
Bill Raymond: Hi, and welcome to the podcast. Today we’re going to talk about catalyzing business success through exceptional user experiences, and I am really excited to have [00:01:00] Satyam Kantamneni managing partner at UX Reactor educator and author of this amazing book that I just about finished reading called User Experience Design, A Practical Playbook to Fuel Business Growth.
Hi Satyam, how are you today?
Satyam Kantamneni: I am doing well. Thanks for having me. Am looking forward to this conversation.
Bill Raymond: Yeah, I’m looking forward to this as well.
Before we get started, Satyam, could you introduce yourself a little bit and maybe explain what UX means at a very high level for us?
Satyam Kantamneni: So I’m Satyam. I’m. The managing partner of boutique broad strategy firm here in the San Francisco Bay area. Personally, I actually have I call it, I done the, I’ve done the trifecta of studying engineering, design and business. And I see hyper correlation between the three. And and that’s what obviously is the focus of my firm where we are trying to drive business value through experience design.
So that’s who we are. I’ve founded this firm or eight years back and has been I call it the biggest experiment in my life, and it’s been a phenomenal [00:02:00] journey so far. Now, in terms of your question bill that you asked, what is user experience? User experience is user’s experience as, as simple as that sounds and to get that that means you orchestrating someone’s experience.
I always say great experiences don’t just happen. They’re designed by someone, whether you’re going into a restaurant, whether you’re going into a hotel, whether you’re doing it in a software and that is what the basic sense of user experience is. But to do that you need to know the user, need to know what they care about, what their problems are, what the opportunities are, and then you need to kind of orchestrate and create experience and design an experience around that.
So that’s actually in the sense of what UX is. Something that I clarify or coach people on, which is user interface is one way of experiencing something. And so UI or screens or any interface, as a matter of fact in fact the best experience is zero interfaces.
And and that’s the new nuances of this line of work. And we help a lot of [00:03:00] organizations figure this out. And the more important thing is the best. There’s a direct correlation with companies that think about experience and how well, and how far ahead of their competition how far they, ahead of competition they end up being.
And that’s obviously fascinating and just to be in my line of work.
Bill Raymond: Yeah. That’s great. Thank you for that. I really appreciate it. And you can see that pretty much anywhere you go and you get a sense for when you’re experiencing a good user experience. I think it’s Like you I like your example of a restaurant because I enjoy going to restaurants.
But you kind of know when you’re going into a place that they care about you and they understand what you’re looking for and why you are there. Sometimes you walk in and you’re saying why does this menu look like this? What, how come I don’t have someone serving me? After I, I’ve been sitting here for half an hour.
Someone is not properly managing it when you experience that. And so I appreciate that you are saying it’s not just for if you [00:04:00] will, software.
Satyam Kantamneni: Absolutely. And again, if you wanna riff on that example let’s just think about the ordering experience, right? And today’s world, heck, hey, here’s a QR code. Interact with the interface and then order it there is, that’s one way of interfacing through that. And obviously there’s designers who can design that, but the best ordering experience is when you realize that someone has come to your restaurant, maybe it’s a Michelin star restaurant that they’re coming to a first time they’re coming to a Michelin restaurant.
What is that experience that you wanna give them? Ordering wise picking an item wise, looking at making the right choices thinking through, like giving a great experience to their own guests. If they are somebody who’s hosting somebody, there’s so many underlying layers that someone has to understand about the different, the users working with that.
And it’s not as simple as here’s the ui, here’s the QR code. Do what you have to again, nuances like those is where you make and break it. And people pay a insane premium for good experiences and that is all over us, like the world. You see that again and again. A [00:05:00] great experience is something that you can charge a good premium on and therefore your margins can go much higher, which is why I say businesses that get it are doing insanely well.
Bill Raymond: Yeah. And. I hear you on that, and I think this also goes to fairly larger organizations as well. I told you just before we started this podcast that I was coming in hot because I was dealing with some financial institutions that just all they need to do is send me a check. And so in order to get that check, I needed to create.
An account with them. The user interface tried to get me to create an account and it said it was fine, but there was an underscore in there and it wasn’t supposed to be there. Apparently they said it’s okay, even though the underscore didn’t belong. And then they said, use the app, and the app didn’t really work, and the keyboard covered the whole user interface, but that’s the user interface perspective.
Then I had to talk to at least six people going through. So many different phone conversations in order to get to the person that I could finally talk [00:06:00] to, and then that person told me they’re gonna email me a form that I need to sign, then create a scan of that and send that to someone else to sign.
And then finally they’ll take that scan document and they will send me the check in two weeks after I give them my FedEx or u p s account. So they can charge it to that. Now, I don’t have a FedEx user in or u p s account, and so I, they, I call them up and of course I’m going through a whole experience with those companies trying to figure out how to make that happen.
And the whole thing just felt like I was living in an age where computers didn’t exist.
Satyam Kantamneni: Absolutely, and I think see It’s a classic breakdown from all sides. In, in, in fact you mentioned that this was a financial account that you had with the previous employer. The previous employer should have thought about the experience of an exiting teammate and tracked it because alumni is still somebody who’s your brand ambassador and most companies forget that.
The experience can still be controlled [00:07:00] after someone leaves the company. And forget employee experience. They don’t even think of alumni experience, which is why again, the mindset of an experience really transformed organization is very different. They’re thinking about everything. They’re touching employees.
Ex employees, future employees, et cetera. And that’s what, again, if HR thought started thinking about, human experiences, then I think there’ll be a very different scenario than human capital. But anyway, the scenario there is, that’s what, that’s a failure on the company. Then the company that has your financial account, they should have thought about in and transition experience when someone leaves a company.
And they should have thought through what do we do with this money? Maybe we could do something better for you. Maybe you can do something greater for you. And. Until you found out that you have an account. And then, by the way, how much does it take to do an u p s maybe $20.
They could have just figured out a way to just charge it to your account and take care of it. Or even better, they could just have comped it because you’ve had that money and they’ve been making so much money off you, and they probably have a data of if you had it for 10 years with them, they probably made enough fees to pay [00:08:00] $20 in there.
Again, the thing, the thought of saying that I’m gonna give a good experience when someone leaves, so they come back to me because if this is the last memory that they have of them. Of you have of them, then it’s actually gonna obviously be a pathetic one. But again, this is where I say a failure of systems actually have happened multiple times.
If somebody was thinking about the experience, thinking about the scenario, it actually makes so much more better sense. And I think these are where I say that people don’t think about it. And the challenge on the other side is and this is something that I hope that, a lot of the audience will respect.
Most times, many organizations ship their organization structure as their experience is like, Hey, oh, the app. It didn’t work. Okay, now call customer service. Okay, the customer service didn’t work. Now call somebody else. And that is how their org is structured. But do you care? Absolutely not.
And so the org has to come together and that whole scanning experience that you said, the scanning experience should have been included in the app itself. But these are things where a lot of this is where, like [00:09:00] literally I said the companies don’t get it. They give a lot of friction. And when friction happens, companies, users don’t like it, and they’ll go to the next best alternative long story short.
It’s a unhappy ending for everyone.
Bill Raymond: I was reading your book and you have this thing called the B V D system. Can you explain that?
Satyam Kantamneni: As I’ve studied organizations that have done really well with leveraging the power of experience designed to drive business value. We came back and said, there are actually four variables that have to come together. You have to have the right people following the right process in the right, with the right mindsets, in the right environment.
And any one of them, it’s a multiplication thing. So B V D is a factor of people, process, mindset, and environment. And all four of them, any one of them can zero itself out. So you’re gonna have the right people follow in the right process, in the right environment. But with the wrong mindsets, it could zero everything out.
And that’s where it is. And this is obviously something I was on trying to answer for myself because I had spent four years at a large financial company. I’d spent six years in a large [00:10:00] software company, and I felt that decade was a lost decade for me in my career. And I, the reason why I was in the first company, the financial company I spent time in it was a good team, good people following bad process in a good environment. Mediocre result in the second company I went to was good people falling, good process in a bad environment again, mediocre outcome. And there goes 10 years of my career just trying to figure that out. So then I came out, I actually said, you need the right people. You need to know who you are, the all the way from leadership to practitioners of this line of work.
They need to have the right mindsets. It’s a mindset of what I call a polymath, where you had to think about from a multidisciplinary perspective. So today at UX Reactive, we have 21 different educational backgrounds represented so we can get that diversity of process and thought, and then you need to have the right environment where experimentation is actually one of, one of the variables of a good environment or a culture is having really good experimentation where failure is celebrated.
[00:11:00] And everything can be an experiment and it’s built in that manner. And then obviously with the right process that kind of allows and brings all these together. So that’s what I call the B V D process. And when we started studying companies, we realized that companies that actually are doing really well, they have the right people following the right process in the right environment with the right mindset, and therefore they’re successful.
And doesn’t matter whether you’re large or small, you could be a two person company, but if you have the right, people, process, mindset and environment, you’ll, you will still excel because you’re always in you have the right moral, I would say compass to drive you forward.
And many companies, in fact, large and small, don’t have the structure in place. So they always keep running into a pitfall. And then the unfortunate part is, as I said, I spent 10 years seeing how, billions of dollars were wasted in this process.
Bill Raymond: You’re thinking about, this, you can have many products, but the user experience can cut across the same person.
Many times, and you’re thinking about this from an so from the corporate [00:12:00] umbrella perspective, aren’t you?
Satyam Kantamneni: Absolutely. And so there are three ways that you actually engage in driving a great experience. It can start with a screen or interface. It can go onto a product or a suite of products. And that’s how the value creation in the book I call it, that’s the experience value chain. And the final thing is the whole organization is thinking about experience.
As I said, HR should be thinking about experience, sales should be thinking about experience and if they’re designing experience, sales is defining a sales experience. HR is talking about a human experience or a teammate experience. And the same way I think the whole organization is activated on experience first philosophy, and and that just becomes like automatically, everything else starts taking care of itself.
Because everyone is thinking about how do I give a better experience to everyone, including inside, outside, everywhere, and all the things you read in management books automatically start taking care of it because people are experimenting, people are willing to try out things. People are thinking that, hey I’m much more sensitized about who I’m building this product for.
I’m high empathy for the [00:13:00] users we build for. Today the finance guy is sitting in the finance team. The say the customer support team is sitting as customer support team. That’s not how a good environment exists. Everybody has, is, has an idea, everybody has an opportunity and uh, to kind of go and, and tackle it.
So that’s where. You start seeing the hierarchy of shifts happen. But again the factor is, I would say only 5% of the companies have ever gone to the level of organizational transformation. Many companies still struggle to move from the screen to the product side. And so there’s a huge opportunity for the whole world as more and more things are getting digitized and technology is becoming easier and faster and better.
That if you don’t know what you’re solving and who you’re solving for you are in for a big bumpy ride.
Bill Raymond: Yeah I can, I’m remembering back to an airline that started here in the US. I won’t name namesbut I do remember when they started as a technology first organization. So everything started with their website and then [00:14:00] their app, and. Any time I contacted them, there was always a great experience.
There wasn’t all these buttons you needed to press and all these things you needed to say. All you need to do was just say I need to talk to customer service. If you, if that’s what you were looking for and suddenly you were talking to someone, and I will recall that this is the first time that.
The last time that this ever happened was the person that I to talked to said something was taken care of and it was a very expensive thing that they were taking care of. I got off the phone and I’m looking for this email I’m told I’m supposed to get, and I never happened. And so that’s of course a bad experience, right?
But I called up and I asked to talk to customer service and I said, I know you told me this isn’t your policy, but can you go back and listen to what that person said and get back to me? And the person actually put me on hold and came back 10 minutes later and said, I listened to the conversation, shocking to me.
And then she said we said we’re gonna do that for you. And she took care of it even [00:15:00] though it was against their policy. And that person communicated incorrectly.
Satyam Kantamneni: That’s a great experience and you’re talking about it today. And I’m sure you’ve spoken about it to a lot of your friends in private and given the name of the airline, and that’s the power of a great experience when someone thinks about what it takes. But But that employee needed that environment to do that, right?
And if everybody’s scared about, Hey, this was not in my K P I or whatever that is, and they are not thinking about, Hey, we exist because our customers exist. And I think that, as I said, that needs that mindset of what am I trying to get here? Am I trying to follow policy or am I trying to make a customer who actually is valuable, happy?
And and that’s where I say the mindset of thinking about what’s the outcome we are trying to achieve here? And that just makes it so much more easier. And everything, that’s where the, you start looking at these new nuances and magically things start happening.
Bill Raymond: I am curious if you could just take a look at this from a greenfield perspective. you’re a large organization, you’re saying we’re gonna change and everyone is on board with [00:16:00] the change.
So what how would that look like if it was a brand new greenfield project?
Satyam Kantamneni: So we’re actually clarify a couple of things, right? So that’s, I think the, one of the biggest myth is that it, it’s a big project. The honest answer is it’s a small shift with a big impact. And the shift is, again, as I said, what, why are we in this? Do I know? And I think the four questions I say that ask any leader who’s listening to this podcast today should just go ask four random people in their company, or five random people, and just ask these four questions.
Who’s our top user? What is their, or who are the top users? Typically, most, a system has more than one user. What are their top pain points? What are we doing about it or what are you doing about it and how do we know we have solved that? When we solved that? And that is a measure of. Knowing whether you are customer-centric or user-centric, do you know who your users are, who your pain points are?
And ask it to anyone. Don’t only ask it to the people that technically are supposed to own that journey or that user’s [00:17:00] experience. It could be the finance guy, it could be the the front desk, whoever it is. You should ask that question because if everybody has the same answer, you have a highly enlightened organization, you are on that path to get to that 5%.
But the factor is that small sh shift is, do I know my user? Do I know what, why we exist here? What do we know, what pain point we are solving for, and what happens when I solve that problem? And I think that is the foundational shift. Once that happens, automatically the organization starts rearranging because you’ll have dialogues, you’ll have conversations internally, like, how are we moving towards that?
That measure of success will always be if it’s consistent across the people. So it’s not a change project. It may take multiple years to get there. But the shift starts with asking that question, do we know, all of us know the user? Do we know the users that we are doing it for? And then you start adding other layers like, do I know what my competition is giving to those users?
What’s the next best alternative for these users? And that’s that just mindset shift automatically starts brings in a line of [00:18:00] questioning, a line of adjustments, a line of measurements. That effectively starts moving that, but that shift, if that doesn’t happen in the leadership, and then obviously attitude reflects the leadership in most times in most organization.
So that’s how it percolates down. And when it percolates down, it automatically starts self-adjusting, right? You don’t have to do anything else because that’s what an organization needs to do. See, even today, I know we’ll talk about AI a bit more or any other technology as a sense, if you know who your user is and what pain points they have.
You just will accelerate the way to get the technology as technology comes up. But most people don’t even know that. And that’s where the foundational problem starts. And it’s honestly, if if you, if people start listening into customers and talking to customers or have ways to get that data into themself it’s a few weeks of effort that will give you a lifetime of impact.
Bill Raymond: While you were sharing that story, there’s something that came to mind that sort of still sticks in my head today. I was working for. A refining [00:19:00] company. So there’s of course lots of manufacturing plants and a lot of safety issues that can come along with running these plants.
And while I worked in the IT organization, there was a small test plant there in the facility. And so of course you have to follow all of these different safety guidelines. And we always just had a person responsible for safety, and there’d be these things in the coffee room with little things stuck up that says, here’s your safety cards and here’s the phone number to call or whatever.
And, The company said, we wanna start measuring how well we’re doing in safety in new and different ways. And so they hired a person that was in charge of safety and that person just unannounced asked if they could pop into one of our team meetings cuz they heard we had a team meeting and said, I’m sorry, don’t mean to interrupt, I just would like to ask a few questions.
And she said what’s the number that you dial if you want to call safety? And none of us knew. And then she said, you know where the [00:20:00] msds are located? Nobody even knew what M S D S was. These are material safety data sheets for anyone that’s interested. And then she just asked a few of these questions and then said and who’s your safety person?
And we said we call that person if, the alarm goes off and that person’s supposed to be our, we follow that person. We, that they’re gonna help us through the hallways and out, out the building. And they said what’s your exit route? And we didn’t know the answers to these questions, and it’s not because we were being If you will Ignorant of it.
It was the fact that maybe we got trained on that in our first week, and of course it went away and she started to chip away at all of those things. And she did that. She just walked into people’s meetings and asked those questions and she did some surveys, but then the ultimate result though was that she started hiring.
Individuals that were put into it, various teams, so that we had people that were involved in this and there was continuous learning and everyone started getting involved by, she [00:21:00] started putting safety measures in place and we all had to abide by them. And it was interesting. We all felt a very hardcore need to make sure that we were all safe, that we did not feel before then.
It took her a year. But it was, at first it was a slow shift, but then all of a sudden we really got into it and she engaged with us and the team that she brought in engaged with us and we all felt like it was our responsibility now, as opposed to someone else up in some office over there.
Satyam Kantamneni: Absolutely. See, I think there’s so many things that went well in that scenario that you identified. First, she listened to her users she was talking to them. She was understanding why and what, and then again, she’s looking at all those new answers. She made changes based on those aspects. The organization allowed her to make those changes.
But again, it’s, see, the biggest part of any change management, and this is true for most organizations we work with, is first realizing that you have a problem. So you need to change, and which is why I think that simple test that I [00:22:00] gave will first give you a sense of, Hey, do you need to change?
And if everyone’s giving you a different answer, everyone’s all over the place. That means you basically have an organization that never gonna be able to leverage the power of this. And we assess it. We assess organizations. We help organizations define those listing posts and everything else.
But what happens is once you know that you need to change, then the easy part comes, which is how do you change and exactly. To what what, and this case this lady did she actually started putting a change management process by actually having, change agents and themes and everything else though, that, that is the easy part.
Most times people don’t even know that experience is a lot of money sitting on the table that people are not even claiming. And they continue to do that, especially in today’s generation of software products and digital products where competition is a click away. If you really think about how the usage has actually evolved it used to be a software you bought, paid all the money upfront, and then you use it or not use it, that’s your headache.
Only when it comes to a second upgrade or [00:23:00] third grade, that’s when you’re ready to pay for it. So you really have to get your act together. But then it’s went from there to subscription where okay, I’m gonna pay for it on a monthly basis. Now it’s actually truly moving towards usage based.
So if you’re not, if the user doesn’t see the value, they’re not using it or they don’t get it, they don’t understand it. There you go. You actually are not gonna make any money out of it. And so it’s becoming more and more competitive that if it’s easy to learn, it’s easy to use, it’s easy to grow into, you effectively will use it.
And this is true with all softwares that are being created today and will continue to be created. But if it’s hard to deploy, hard to migrate, to, hard to think through all those experiences, forget it. You’re never going to even, you’ll be dead on arrival to start with in these markets.
Bill Raymond: And I think that leads really well into this sort of digital transformation that we’re going through right now. I know that when we were talking about, when we talk about ai, I’m gonna, I’m gonna start with my own thoughts on this and I’d love to hear how you. Kind of form this in your head around user [00:24:00] experience.
It’s interesting when the app store first arrived on phones, I think we can all just credit Apple for that in this particular case. But, the app store arrived and everyone said we need to get an app, right? We need an app. And there were companies that grew out of that and now are large multi-billion dollar organizations, or even at least have those market capitalization numbers.
But then we also have, clearly there’s a number of apps where you download it, and I used that bank as an example earlier, but there’s a number of apps that just feel like they’re clunky. Like they said we’re gonna take all of our. Junk processes
Satyam Kantamneni: There you go.
Bill Raymond: And put them into this thing that kind of looks like an app, but it’s a browser and it feels like 20 different people wrote different parts and it’s not connected, and you say, Screw it.
I’m not gonna use it anymore. And you talked about that. You talked about how the organization needs to really think thoughtfully about the user experience so people [00:25:00] don’t delete the app. Now we’re coming up onto this new age. Where I think apps are probably still important, but, artificial intelligence is making its way into our daily lives and it certainly made its way into mine for sure.
It’s not just because I’m searching for a cat or a dog my phone anymore. It’s actually becoming a highly usable business tool. As a matter of fact, this podcast is edited with an AI tool so that we sound great and look great on the video and things like that. And animations are there. But, I guess my question for you is there’s always gonna be this new big thing and AI, people are talking about this as being a hundreds of billions of dollar market and it’s going to change the way we all work and live.
And I’m very curious to hear your thoughts on how an organization should be thinking about. User experience and artificial intelligence. I know this is a very broad question, but I’d love to just get your thoughts there.
Satyam Kantamneni: [00:26:00] Now it’s interesting, right? And I’ve been thinking about it quite a lot. my clients keep thinking about it quite a lot. And it all comes down to the one simple fact or foundational belief. And the foundational belief is the users are not going anywhere. In terms of they’re not, they don’t vanish.
They will be there. Every system will still have users. And every, I use the word system, I use it in the context of a healthcare system, education system, a financial system. Each system still will continue to have users and all, and that’s what digital transformation is kind of trying to help and get better at in the basic sense.
To be honest, AI is another technology. It’s a powerful technology. It’s a leapfrogging technology, but we should treat it like any other technology. And technology is there to solve a problem of a existing user and the intent and so on so forth. So for example, the same way as you said about mobility or when apps came out, it was not, people started thinking about it [00:27:00] as oh, I need an app.
You don’t need an app. Does your user need an app? Does the user have mobility use cases where they are, hey, on the go, they’re in a flight, they’re trying to do something, and they just have this small interface. Can they do something with that really fast or are you trying to put in, as you said, all the processes that I have into an app?
The answer is no. That interface is so freaking small, and especially when the first mobile interface came out. It is built for a certain context. It’s built for a certain situation. Now, in that situation and in that context, can your users leverage it? Absolutely. If you’re trying to do a trade on your financial account and you’re in the flight and you’re ready to put in a trade, absolutely great scenario.
If you’re trying to send a quick email and a quick reply. For a message that you are on the go. Yes, absolutely. But are you gonna sit there and analyze a Excel spreadsheet and then run pivot tables on it? Absolutely not. And I think that’s when you know your users, when you know the pain points and the journeys that they go through, then you see which ones can I [00:28:00] make it bet make better by the technology that I have.
In this case, mobile is a technology cloud is a technology. AI is a technology, when you start going back to the user. Now in the word I, I talk about it in the book too, where I say that, Hey the secret is in the semantics itself. When you say user experience design, that means you need to do, understand the user first, understand the experience, second, then the design, and then you go to the technology.
And that’s still the sequence. That sequence will never change. That’s the sequence that made Apple as big as it is. If you look at some of Steve Jobs, old quotes and stuff, he talks about, I don’t know where I’m going, but I know I’m gonna follow the user. And that’s what it is. And he said the customer in that case.
And so in this case, again, the same aspect applies. All the technologists out there, all the designers out there, For the system that they are looking at, they need to know who the user is, what the experience that they look for or cater for. How do I design that? And now obviously with ai you can do generative stuff.
You can start looking at analytical stuff. You can [00:29:00] start looking into a lot of nuances, right? For example, taxes, right? Tax planning is a scenario that actually, when you’re looking at, if I was looking at the. System from a TurboTax perspective, or even as a matter of fact IRS perspective, I could actually have an AI construct that looks at the data that I have for you on i, on the IRS end, and I can look at your, some of your pieces and say, Hey, how much is your estimated tax?
These are simple things that you can do, input and output conversations, because that’s been a problem always. It’s not something new. It doesn’t come in today because AI just came in today. These problems have existed for all the users, and that’s where I still believe that if you know your user, you know the experience that they crave for, and then you can design that with the technology that kind of allows you to do all these things, you actually will continue to thrive in that market.
And today it’s ai. Tomorrow it’s gonna be something else. But AI is by far, I’m not undermining by any chance that AI is a leapfrogging technology. It’s gonna change a lot of things the way we do it, but it’s still gonna change it for a user or for a [00:30:00] person on the other side. So if you don’t start with the person, you will always be, running around.
Bill Raymond: As you’re talking about it, I’m thinking about the inner workings of an organization I think there’s no company out there that wouldn’t say customer always comes first.
Satyam Kantamneni: Absolutely.
Bill Raymond: But there is a certain attitude and a certain structure that you have in place. And so what I’d like to ask you, and I know that we’re getting close to the end of time, but I’m very curious. I think a lot of companies came up with multiple apps or tried to jam everything into one app, and it was run by a whole bunch, by like committees and things like that.
But now AI comes in and now everyone says we need a chat bot, or we need a. A this or a, we need something that can look at our data and analyze it and things like that. And I can see every part of an organization needing that. But it would still feel disconnected. And I think organizations, what we do is we build silos.
You say I’m in the product development team, so this is my view of a customer. I’m in customer service. This is my view. I’m in finance. This is my view. [00:31:00] And if you each have a very different perspective of who your customer is, and it’s still that person that is giving you money for your product or service Or their time, or whatever it is, social media.
There, the thing is that you have these silos that can hinder the organization moving forward as a whole. How do you break down those silos and Oh, yeah. And just answer that in three minutes.
Satyam Kantamneni: No I’ll try to answer that
Bill Raymond: kidding. I’m kidding.
Satyam Kantamneni: 60 seconds actually. I think there’s no sports team that’s ever won a sports game. If each one has a different strategy. Each one has a different belief of what success looks like, and that’s the foundational belief foundational fact. And organizations need to just understand that.
Leaders need to just understand that it’s easy to functionally lead, it’s hard to functionally deliver. And so in this case, experience. The only person that owns experience in an organization, unfortunately, the c e o, chief Exec Officer[00:32:00] executive officer. And the reason why that happens is because no one else is holding everyone accountable for delivering a great experience.
Which is why I actually have been a big proponent of saying you need a chief Experience officer, and that is not a chief product officer. That’s not a Chief Customer officer because most chief customer officers in many companies are actually people who own customer service, customer success. But they don’t own the whole stack.
Who brings the fact that, if it’s company A, how is the company a’s experience gonna get projected? Who are the different users for them? What is the experience journey for each one of them and what’s my roadmap around each one of them? And that roadmap could spread over products, could spread over customer service, could be spread over professional services.
There’s a lot of nuances there, which is why I think it needs a leader. Just the same way as you’re a chief marketing officer, is Chief Human Resource officer. You need a chief experience officer if you want to lead with experience, and that person is gonna drive the B v D part of it, which is the right people, the right process.
Now to your question, experimentation, you don’t, it’s [00:33:00] no change happens with a massive change. It’s not a revolution by any means. It’s an evolution. It’s an evolution with one experiment at a time. And it starts with one group, one department, one process, one person. So again, it’s an evolution of adjusting to that and all these organizations need to start thinking about that.
Again, if you wanna build a silo-based organization, yes, absolutely. But then will you be a transformative organization? Absolutely not. And I think one thing I would tell a lot of the audience here, Is people need to think about why is Apple a 2.4 trillion company? In fact, it’s probably more now. Last I checked, it was and Samsung is, was 10th of that.
While Samsung makes everything that Apple makes and more, right? Why is it that one company’s 10 times more bigger? Than somebody else that actually is making similar products, more e equally qualified products and so on and so forth, and more products. Apple doesn’t make TVs. Apple doesn’t make refrigerators.
Apple doesn’t make washing machines, and that’s where the nuance of [00:34:00] experience led comes in, where you start thinking about it, you start thinking about one users, then two users and three users in that ecosystem. By the time you realize that you actually have a sticky ecosystem with every user in there.
So each time you’re to cancel that service, you’re to ask four people. And that’s when you actually build a very powerful system. And unfortunately, silos are the first thing that kind of kills that.
Bill Raymond: Of course you’re going to have different groups within a company, right? You can’t have everyone just reporting into one leader. Probably you could, but when you get to a certain size it does have to be broken down.
what are some of the things that leaders can do to help start breaking those down?
Satyam Kantamneni: I think the first and foremost thing is having CL clear incentives and metrics, right? The second thing is build a matrix system, and matrix is, and then the horizontals that go across the organization, one of them should be experienced. One of them should be financial, right? So doesn’t one of them should be how you actually human resources, whatever those horizontals are, and that horizontal is accountable for [00:35:00] something that in the case of a chief experience officer, you’re accountable for every user in the system your system touches and you care about.
And that means that journey is owned by them across all departments. They are the pain points are owned by them across all departments. The roadmap is owned across all departments, and that is the role of that. The chief, the c e o, is now effectively holding these horizontal leaders To drive different functions to get there.
The incentives are in place and you start noticing it. As we kind of coach companies, you start noticing that as we study companies, we start noticing that small shifts kind of start bringing that together. Most companies don’t even have a measure of who the users are and what they measure of success for each user is.
What are the big pain points? How is my roadmap, actually my product roadmap, helping that? How is my customers support roadmap helping that? And that’s where you start thinking or orchestrating a journey. Again, I started this whole conversation with saying, any great experience out there that you’ve had has been orchestrated by someone.
And that means there’s been an environment, a process, [00:36:00] a person that’s driving a lot of that. One, one interesting thing here I’ll quickly share is Disney has a lost kid experience. What happens in a theme park when a lot of kids are excited and they’re stimulated, they’re all running around and they get lost.
And obviously it’s a highly controlled environment. So any cast member is well rehearsed in the lost kid experience. A parent may be freaking out, but none of the cast members freak out most of the times. They have a protocol, they have a structure, they, and they ease in. They talk about it.
They take your phone. They then have a number to text the image for the kid that is lost. And then immediately, more than likely, because it’s highly controlled environment, there’s a gazillion cameras, they quickly find out where the kid is and then. They have a way to even get the kid entertained while the parent is coming to get them.
So these are all nuances that goes in. That’s why someone has to think about it, but that has to work across the cast, and that’s why you need somebody to work through that whole horizontal layer.
Bill Raymond: Oh, that’s really a good way to end the podcast, I think. I really appreciate your time today. Satya Khomeini how can people reach you?
Satyam Kantamneni: A lot of ways you can reach out to [00:37:00] me on LinkedIn. You can look me up and connect. As long as you sh share the context that you heard me on the call, then at least I know the per the context there. You can reach out through my firm. Uh, UX reactor. There’s also ways to get, get ahold of me, but yeah, again, I’m this is a topic I’m very passionate about.
And as I said, I spent a decade not doing it and I’m now made it my personal calling to help organizations drive business value by experience design.
Bill Raymond: Yeah, and I can tell that you’re passionate about it, and I would suggest that anyone that is listening to this podcast do pick up your book. It’s called User Experience Design, A Practical Playbook to Fuel Business Growth. It’s actually a really easy read and there’s a lot of great leadership advice in there, and it has so many good, very simple.
Explanations of all of the topics that we talked about today, and it’s very relatable. I’m about three quarters of the way through it, and I’m going to finish the finish it this weekend. [00:38:00] So if you’re interested in reaching out to Satyam Kantamneni just go on your podcast app where you’re listening right now, and you’ll see the contact details there.
As well as the link to the book. And of course, if you go to the agileinaction.com website, you’ll see the podcast there with those links as well. Thank you so much for your time today.
Satyam Kantamneni: Likewise. Thanks for having me.
Speaker: Thank you for listening to the Agile and Action Podcast with Bill Raymond. Subscribe now to stay current on the latest trends in team, organization, and agile techniques. Please take a moment to rate and comment to help us grow our community. This podcast is produced in affiliation with Cambermast LLC, and our executive producer is Reama Dagasan.
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