Kader and Imran are business consultants who help businesses to digitally transform. We discuss the how digital transformation has changed the world and how those business who have transformed are having an easier time during the pandemic.
Your host is Richard Lowe of The Writing King, which provides ghostwriting and freelance writing services.
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Interview Transcript Kader and Imran
Richard Lowe 00:00
Good evening. This is Richard Lowe with conversations with influencers. I’m here with Qatar and Imran technology executives who are experts in digital transformation.
Good evening, Richard. This is Kader. So I’ll go first. I really appreciate you having us in your, in your blog, and excited to be part of this, this discussion. And during this tough times and unprecedented times, I think we all have to stay together and figured out how we need to kind of all work together and share information with us, so that we can start still continue to move forward.
Richard Lowe 00:43
Excellent, excellent. And Imran
and this is Imran. Thanks for having us. We are waiting to learn more about this and how this thing works out. Thanks for having us.
Richard Lowe 00:59
Oh, you’re welcome. It’s good to have you both on the podcast. So I’m Richard Lowe. I’m the senior writer and owner of the writing King. I’m a ghostwriter. And I’ve doing this podcast just to talk to various influencers, find out what’s going on in their industry and with their lives. And it’s more of a conversation format than an interview format. So hope you all enjoy it. So I’m going to start by asking Kotter, what is digital transformation, let’s discuss that.
Sure, you know, digital transformation is the buzzword that everybody’s kind of been talking about for the past 10 years, right? This is not a new concept that’s coming in. But it is an interesting kind of a journey that a lot of organizations have to kind of take to make sure that they are all kind of focused on the customer experience, and see how do they actually give the customized customer experience by each channel the customers comes through, so that they feel it is their own way of doing any a transaction or a process of whatever you want to take is it’s for them to kind of feel that they can do it at anytime, any place. Because in this new age of, you know, the cell phones and iPhones that actually as transformed a lot of the way that how we do even our day to day work, it actually makes it more important for organizations to be able to adapt and be able to deliver the experience that everyone is looking for. So macro level, that’s why I actually look at as a digital transformation that organization needs to kind of get is given that specific experience by the specific channel that the user is coming through.
Richard Lowe 02:52
That’s interesting, I actually today I had an experience of a customer experience that was negative. And it didn’t have to be and that’s with the Florida unemployment website. I was just checking it out because it’s on the news. And it’s horribly slow. It’s crashing, it pops loses you lose pages, it’s probably about 10 years old, and it looks like old technology. And it’s written in ASP X, that’s ASP dotnet. And you can tell that it’s that it’s really old, and it’s getting tons of complaints. It’s gone all the way up to the senators and governors of the state. And it didn’t have to be that way. There is actually a law in Florida, the bill that says that everything in Florida is going to move to the cloud. Well, obviously this didn’t, because they just spent like I think they said $7 million on servers and equipment. So that wasn’t in the cloud. But if had been in the cloud, it occurred to me, they could have just use the elastic capabilities of the cloud and this thing would have performed very well. And it wouldn’t have taken all this capital expenditures, rather would have been operating expenditures. And I think they would have been better prepared. So that to me is an example of where the customer experience was rather poor. But it didn’t have to be and it shouldn’t be. And I found it interesting that they’re actually trying to fix it by building in more servers and more discs and things like that and hiring people rather than moving it to the cloud, which is probably easier than buying new equipment. What do you think of that kind of thing?
So, you know, there’s two things right. And I’m I’m sorry that you had that kind of a negative experience. And as you very well know, because of the COVID. A lot of the government organizations are trying to do their best to kind of start bringing the information to people as quickly as possible, like so, you know, kudos to a lot of the folks who are actually trying to do it, but you’re absolutely right. If we had actually planned our journey, specifically, you know how the experiences are and start working towards it, that would have actually a much more help would have been a much more pleasant experience. And you would have been much more appreciated right now. Right? Based on what what is happening around us, the challenge with a lot of the organizations, right, so I and I agree with you, is the club first, you know, kind of going into more of a, a channel agnostic, and actually, and trying to create a custom expedient by the channels. If it’s been a lot of it’s been ahead of a lot of the technology heads, a lot of the CEOs of organization and heads of organization as well. Now, what has been bothering a lot of them over the period of years is the security. Because specifically government and agencies are have more personal information than you know, wouldn’t discount other organizations, they do have as well. But they need to be extra careful to make sure that like the data security is more important and protecting your data becomes more important. But that has has kind of has changed as well over the number of years where Cloud has become more secure. And there’s been a lot of security parameters that’s been established around it, to be able to kind of give you the type of security and the localization that is needed, specifically kind of handle PII data. So you know, that’s one of the things that Imran and I, you know, when we actually got in past few organizations, that has been some of our push within the organization to it to get to is to kind of get into more of a cloud first API first, like, you know, and kind of mobile agnostic kind of approach to a lot of these applications that we want to get out and try to focus on the customer centricity. So that way, we can actually define that user experience by the channel that our customers are coming in, so that we can scale up scale down based on the needs are the reduction on the need, and focus on our assets, and which is really important. And specifically, you know, Richard, based on some of the COVID things that’s happening, right, a lot of the organizations are kind of focused on creating this work from home capability, creating a platform that can scale up, right, and specifically, you know, us being in some of the cloud environments, it just significantly helped us to scale up and be able to create that experience. Obviously, we have, you know, few hiccups, but it was quickly fixable for us to expand and be able to kind of preserve and make sure everybody save some unhealthy in their homes. But still, we can focus on creating the productivity that we’ve been looking for, from our employees to kind of see still keep performing at their peak.
Richard Lowe 07:54
Yeah, that’s, that’s interesting. I was I have a client, who is in Canada, and they suddenly had to move 1000 People from the office to the field. And they managed to do it within a couple of days, because they are cloud based. And it was just a matter of they used on bring your own device, and everybody where they could and then whenever they couldn’t they use, they gave people laptops and computers. And they were able to do it very quickly and very efficiently. Of course, it was unexpected, and there was all the hassles involved with it. And it was very upsetting. But within a matter of a few days of those 1000 people were all working off site from home. And they were doing very well. With the occasional hiccup of course, but and Publix is another example. That’s a supermarket chain down here in Florida. Their website’s been hammered, obviously, because people are trying to order stuff and have it delivered. And it’s been performing very well. I went on to order some stuff and you know, customer journey is great. It’s easy to use, it’s fast. It’s efficient. It’s it’s obviously more modern technology. Very impressive, very impressive. digital presence there. And the customer journey and customer experience was very good. Cameron what what kind of experiences have you had with the customer experiences?
I mean, you know, the something at this scale on the pandemic, the whole globe is going through managing a scale for such a large audience for for websites or applications. It’s definitely difficult, difficult, right. But I think the majorly problem people are facing or the older technologies facing is because the technologies are not designed keeping customer in pitcher, right. Unemployment kind of a website must know that there will be a pocket picks where they might have have to respond to them. I mean, you could Can you imagine the experience you had today. And then when I encounter talk about technology and transformation, I think, major goal is to keep customer and clients in the in the in the focus. If you if you design things, keeping those items in mind, I think those kinds of issues can be avoided. Pretty interesting past. Cloud, it’s been there for many, many years now. And it’s, it’s as secure as homegrown data centers also. So the argument of Security on Cloud versus modern technology, it’s, it’s almost dying. I mean, talk about the top known organization, they are all on Cloud, even the larger banks, financial institutions are also on cloud. It gives that flexibility to increase the peak, which, which probably almost every application is facing today.
Richard Lowe 11:13
That’s true. That’s true. Carter, anything to add to that?
No, I agree with him run, right, like so if you look at it. And I think that’s a very valid point that Imran brought up, right, like we both were at, at a financial services industry before. And, you know, specifically, they were the ones like they were trailing behind with compared a lot of the organization, but they made their leap as well, right. Like a lot of the organization’s banks have actually moved into the cloud, in variety, different areas, and they are actually scaling. And if you look at, like, the experiences that we all have been having, is it’s been phenomenal, at least right. Like with all the banks, irrespective of the type of functions and features, they have that scalability usage, kind of work from home, you know, be able to deposit from your home, you know, and be able to send transfers of money to people that’s in need right now, all of that in none of that has been impacted or affected by this process. Right? It’s, you know, there’s nothing that’s been talked about. So that is important thing that like, pretty much the security factor of these cloud based technologies is become, it’s actually become part of the DNA of that. So it’s not like secularity separate, and cloud is separate, that actually become more integrated. So which is just going to pay pretty much, you know, the way you know, not only the US is going to be the way the whole world is going to operate, post, this pandemic of COVID, 19 years is going to be having a whole digital footprint, right? Everyone is going to look at the whole digital footprint, the digital ecosystem, and how to actually collaborate and or can I get into that digital footprint as quickly as possible, is what everybody’s mind is going to be all about, right? Because this, I think this, this being that pandemic has actually has changed every one of our lives, you know, in different ways. But head has changed the whole goals and objectives of the organization going forward. Completely. Right. And that’s, that’s the important thing that we all have to be looking through. How do we actually figured out the journey? And how do we, you know, get ourselves stuck collaborating in this digital type of new world that we’re going to be living moving forward?
Richard Lowe 13:35
Yeah, the thing that fascinates me is, I think this is going to change the United States and probably the rest of the world, completely. The long commutes that people do, I mean, I used to do an hour and a half commute to and from work, and it was a murderous commute. 20 miles, you know, for an hour and a half is ridiculous. And this was in California, and that’s, that’s probably going to highly reduce in comparison to what it was just just a month ago, I know, smog is way down, and all kinds of things like that are way way down. And it’s very interesting, the way that kind of predicting and looking at the crystal ball and thinking how is this going to change us once we’re out of this, this pandemic? thing? Right. Yeah,
absolutely. But look at this, right, like, you know, sometimes we always say but like some of these, some of these new ways of thinking is was much, you know, much advance for the time that it was for imagine P part now, right? If you would actually talk about p bar right now, pretty much they would be one of the largest kind of grocery chain online at this point in time. You know, because, you know, some of these were much much advance for the time but at least what is going to define the future. Right now. It’s already been set up the goals of the or the CEOs of the organizations have already been set up. by this pandemic or by COVID-19 Going forward,
Richard Lowe 15:03
yeah, one of the things that impressed me it was I got an email from zoom, we’re recording this on zoom right now. And zoom was they admitted in their email, they were no way prepared for this kind of thing. And they’ve had to, everybody’s using Zoom now, for homeschooling and for business and so forth. Zoom was one of the best platforms out there, I think there’s probably others. And the email went into how they’ve had to expand their, their network multiple times over, that they didn’t expect that security holes and things like that were identified, and they fix them fast. And they’ve been right on top of it, and they’ve been soliciting any problems people have to correct them. I mean, it’s a really good response. Because that’s the other side of, of this digital transformation journey is the support part of it, I think, is that you got to understand that there are going to be issues, there are going to be problems. So a lot of it’s new. And if you’re not quick on the ball to support things, and ready to admit that, that there were issues that need to be addressed, then your your vote, you’re going to have customers that don’t want to come back, because you’re lied or something like that. And if you’re honest, people come back. So zoom says, Yeah, we had problems, but we fix them. And we still have problems, but we’re fixing them. And they they said that the increase in stuff was dramatic, like an order of magnitude higher than they used to be just a week, just a month ago. It’s amazing.
That trend has changed, right user expectations, excuse me, trend has changed. Previously, user wanted everything. Almost pretty perfect. But the lately if you see millennials last five to 10 years, they like to see improvements and, and part of the improvement right? organizations who are willing to say these are the bugs, and these are the holes and different kinds, from a performance to security to anything admitted, those organizations are actually doing much better than those organizations who are not really ready to share those kinds of missions. Also, mobile industry and all this industry has also taught user that you know, every six months you will get something better something new to use for this has helped digital transformation, right? Eventually, every invention needs to have progress path. And that that is very important. As you rightly said feedback mechanism is very important. And some of the feedback for digital transformation comes from a support side, right? How the user is interacting with your system, how your user is reacting to features and functions you have just provided to them. It’s very important. So your example of zoom, it’s a pure example that you need to take that feedback, you have to prioritize the tree back and probably fix it accordingly. I’m sure zoom had some other plans for April, May June to come up with some new features and function which was more, you know, out of their way of thinking better and but that time has changed completely because now now they have to worry about the millions of people who are using today and the security loopholes and network increase and all that I’m sure their plan has changed. So digital transformation is not one way path. It is a it’s a it needs to have feedback, it needs to listen what is happening after we do something. And that that keeps us me and Carla probably more excited to know, things which we just put it in an application that users are using, how they are reacting to those.
Richard Lowe 19:09
Exactly. My neighbor just started homeschooling her kids. And she is thrilled. Because it turns out that what used to take the whole day for the child in school, the child finished the lessons in an hour and a half at home. And I’ve been I’ve been walking around talking my neighbors and it’s basically true for all of them. There was there was of course an adjustment period, but it was very fast. And they don’t have the distractions of school. They don’t have the the all the all the other things that go with it. Of course they’re also missing the socialization of schools. So that’s a problem that we’ll we’ll come back once we go back to schools and things. But that’s that’s an example of something that is probably going to permanently change society because people are finding for the first time that homeschooling actually works, and it works well. And now they’re with their families again shot Arcos Shaka, and they have to adjust to having the whole family at home, the major shocker, and we do their living space and all these things happening fast, faster than we could have possibly imagined because of the emergency. And something like zoom, instead of becoming a nice to have is now an absolute essential. You have to have it.
I agree, right, Richard? Because the this one phrase actually comes to my mind from the movie from Jurassic Park, right? Life always finds its way. And this is how, like, we all are finding our own way as part of this, right. And I actually like, you know, specifically this whole, your neighbor you’re talking about, and I have three kids, and I’m kind of looking at what these kids are doing. It’s amazing, right? But but not much distraction, like the kids are able to finish what they need to do. I agree with the the social interaction part that, you know, we’ll we’ll all get there, right? Well, pretty soon this will be done, and then we’ll be out there going to it. But what I see in my kids is like now they’re spending more time on a lot of creative, interesting things that they didn’t have on their normal routines or days to be able to do that, right, I’ve seen my son create more stuff, you know, that’s around the house right now that I’m actually proud to kind of display it. And it kind of gives him to kind of start working on that incremental, right. Which is which, which is just an amazing part. And what Imran kind of said as well, right? It starts reflecting with your kids, when you see at home as well, where you know, they start with something basic, then they actually can fine tune it better than they fine tune it, and they fine tune it. And so my son was trying to build like a floating board with just straws. Like he wanted to use just straws to do it. But he had so many different iterations. And he came to me, he asked me for some now what do you think about this when do assisters when to you know, Mentos Mom, it’s kind of like, you know, this digital life of kind of doing things more agile, right? Being able to get into more of a product mindset where you start with base, and then get feedback, and then start building on top and get feedback and building and talk. So you can come back with a much better product. And better, much better usage is it’s just been an amazing thing. And you can just see that in your own kids right now. That’s happening, right. And I think kudos to zoom, there’s like teams, as WebEx of the world as we know, Google meet does quite a bit of all these different tools have actually stepped up to be able to kind of help with this, this educational process, to kind of keep that going through this pandemic as well, and be able to kind of, you know, react to it quickly. But the thing also, I’m very excited, right? A lot of these organizations, they are actually getting live feedback right now from the customers, you know, as things they use. So what happens is like, it gives you a more better path to define your product feature roadmap going forward. So that way, when we actually come out of it is, you know, what, not much of user groups, you got some really live feedback in be able to get your product even better, right? So it’s going to be, you know, why we started a month ago. And if you look at three months from now, the product is going to be much better with it with all the experience that the users are looking for.
Richard Lowe 23:22
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. It’s it’s, I mean, obviously, it’s difficult times. But it’s also very interesting times, when you look at some of the trends that are going to come out of this over the next months and years, it’s going to be a completely different world. First of all, these government websites that have obviously they worked before, to a certain extent, to more or less, but now they’re going to have to work much better. Because now instead of having, I think, as a statistic I heard was, there were a couple 100,000 people or over a certain period of time to the Florida unemployment, and now there’s millions. They obviously need to have be able to handle that kind of stuff in the future for these kind of unexpected events. So they’re gonna scale up, and they’ll figure it out. And it’ll come out better. Obviously, they’re with a with any kind of change. There’s always chaos, and there’s always frustration. And they’ll learn from that. And they’ll, they’ll have better management techniques, better security, better performance, the better able to do it. The SBA website is an example of that. Went over the SP, a website last Sunday, and it was God awful. It was, it was just, it was horrible. It was old style. You had to fill out word forms and do that on Monday. That was on Sunday on Monday, brand new website. You know, the forum, they had a forum for the long that I wanted. They had it was fast. It was amazing. They did it overnight, or probably a few days. But it was it was quite a thing. And then a few days later, it changed again and it changed again and it’s still pretty fast, the websites not slow and they I obviously have some, some technology behind it, because I’m sure the SBA website got slammed hard by millions of people all of a sudden, and they didn’t plan for that. And it’s doing rather well. I don’t know about I’m not talking about the SBA loaning process, I’m just talking about the technology here. And it was impressive, considering the magnitude of the disaster that they were faced with.
I agree, right. Like, it’s more than like, you know, previously would have been hundreds and 1000s of people. Now you’re talking about at least 120 250 million, you know, people trying to get onto it, because either they were independent contractors or they know are their small business. They want to keep things running up here. Right. So I, you know, I think the government in Southern India, they’re doing a phenomenal job right now to kind of step in and be able to get to create that experience that the users are looking for at this point in time.
Richard Lowe 25:53
Yes, exactly. And I kind of look at the disaster it was disaster happen. There’s always chaos. There’s you don’t put you can’t plan for does that mean you can do the best planning you can. But you never know what kind of disaster is going to hit it could be a hurricane coming earthquake could be tsunami could be a pandemic. So when it happens, you do the best you can. And it’s only been a month or two since since this pandemic started. And things are already adjusting. Obviously, they’re not adjusting fast enough in some areas. And in some areas, they’re adjusting well. And like we’re all on Zoom. Now. I mean, everybody I know is using zoom or one of the other ones that you mentioned, there’s one of their about six or seven big communications companies, Microsoft and so forth that have a zoom like thing. They’re all stepping up to the plate, the grocery stores, of course, are getting hammered. For some reason everybody wants to buy toilet paper, and there is none. And there are websites that seem to be doing pretty well. I’m sure most of the supermarket’s had to push the websites off to the cloud a long time ago. And those that didn’t are probably regretting it right now. And it’s it’s just amazing, the the looking at what the transformation that’s happening to America, that I can’t speak for the rest of the world, because I live in the United States, but I’m sure it’s happening elsewhere to the transformation is amazingly fast. And we’re in the middle of it, we’re in the middle of this hurricane of the pandemic. And, of course, we feel the chaos. And of course, we’re upset. And of course, we’re unhappy. And of course, the news is freaking out. And of course, the politicians are screaming at each other. But the transformation is immense. And it’s incredible. And we’re going to be in a different place. One of the things that I was thinking of was, people aren’t commuting anymore. And smog and air pollution and stuff is way down, I’m sure that has an effect on global warming, or whatever you call it. Nowadays, climate change. If this is permanent, this could dramatically change the Climate Change Picture. Maybe maybe the world won’t warm as fast or maybe it’ll solve it entirely, I don’t know. But if this becomes a permanent change that has an effect on those particular algorithms that they use to predict global warming, if we’re putting in 30, or 40% less junk in the air. Well, maybe that helps a lot. And that’s an interesting side effect.
I agree. Right, like I was actually reading an article, Richard was, there’s a specific type of portals which is actually considered endangered. And, you know, that actually shows up on the, the West coastline of India, and because of so much ticket, take repopulated beaches and all that stuff, they’ve never come back came there and then be able to lay their eggs. And what I’ve actually been told is, there’s about like three or 4000 of them right now have been kind of, they’ve come and lay their eggs and like, you know, another couple of months, they’ll all be hatched and there’ll be all that kind of growing up pretty fast. And which is, which is an amazing thing, right? I start seeing because I you know, I use this next door app to you know, to, to know what’s going on within my neighborhood and see if there’s something I could be of help in any shape, size or form. And I see a lot of these people kind of posting, Hey, I saw a turkey in my neighborhood. Oh, I’m seeing a hand that’s walking around in my neighborhood, which is unheard of being part of the suburb of Chicago, right like you know, unless and until you live close to a farm but you know, the the area that in Brian and I live is kind of pre thickly populated, it’s the third largest city in Illinois. It’s amazing to see all this nature and wildlife trying to kind of get back their space again, and be able to enjoy themselves, you know, a part of the world that’s coming out.
Richard Lowe 29:59
Yeah, you Yeah. Ron, have you seen similar things in your area?
Yeah, and some of the changes are gonna be permanent. Right. And when you you, you want to or not, I think working from home, there are organizations who were pretty strict about it, they had different thoughts and policies around working from home. But this, this tells that, you know, people can be constructive and efficient, working from home. I mean, you know, in a carpet, losing a half an hour, for one professional is a big deal. Think about for a personal life losing a couple of hours every day, five days in a week for just to commute to work, no productivity, you’re sitting in a car, and no efficiency. I mean, you know, and now, technology has given us gadgets like mobile phone, when people started using on the car, why? Because they are bored, not because they want to use it, they are bored for 4550 minutes. So some of the this thing is going to change, in some change is going to be permanent change. And I think we should be excited for that.
Richard Lowe 31:18
I think a lot of the changes are going to be permanent, that’s what I meant, it’s going to change the world, or at least the United States forever. United States, North America, the whole world, probably, because once you’ve been telecommuting for six months, or whatever, it’s going to however long it’s gonna last, it’s going to be probably a lot more difficult to go back in telecommuting and tell the schools and tell or whatever. And I’m actually kind of amazed that the communication system has been holding up to the strain, it seems to be doing quite well, I’m getting really good response time on my internet. And I mean, I know there have been some some reports of some people who have had some blockages in some areas that didn’t have enough fiber or whatever. But overall, the internet seems to be holding up very well, performance wise, considering how many people just jumped on it in a matter of days. What have you guys seen on that? It’s been going pretty good.
I agree, it’s been actually pretty good. At least from my side, right? Because no, I was not expecting the bandwidth was just for us to kind of watch TV and then just be on the net, if we need to do it part time. And now this has become a full time full time work. Luckily, I’ve been our neighborhood has had some fiber layouts in which which kind of gave us the bandwidth that we’re looking for. But from a corporate, if you look at from a corporate organization perspective, right, like, you know, a lot of their bandwidths were kind of based on you using at work. And now they had to kind of change a lot of that bandwidth and reallocate so that way it can get some external, when people work from home, that capacity gets used in that rather than in your offices, right. So a lot of corporate infrastructure teams had to kind of work pretty hard in trying to move and change the bandwidth allocations to the right areas of focus. So that way, you can actually govern less usage at work and then more usage for external connections so that we can all be productive. So I would that’s the type of change I’m looking I know in Brian would have his own thoughts on this too.
Yeah, I had couple of disaster in two weeks where my internet was not working for a few hours, right. And there was a time when the word was talking about electricity. And now I think both red electricity and internet is become such an integral part of it. But what what I what I what my experience, though, it was two hours down my provider right away send an SMS to me saying that, you know, we know it’s outage and they are expecting a pill fix in two hours, and it actually got fixed in within an hour both time to time I had that that problem. But and I think we talked about it sometime back right if you keep your customer and then the people who are affected with this kind of abrupt problems. I think people do forgive people do acknowledge that you know, things are not easy. They know how difficult they themselves are solving lots of problems day to day in their daily lives. So it is difficult to manage but I think if you share you you keep your your customer and your audience inclusive. I think people people are just much better than you don’t And
Richard Lowe 35:01
while you exactly, I receive the same kind of SMS messages, text messages when from my provider, and if I get a message, which I do, if the internet goes down, it says, The internet’s down, we know it’s down, it’s down because a car hit a pole, and we got a team on the way. And we expect, we don’t know how long it’s going to be up yet. Because we haven’t gotten there. And then if a few minutes later, or half an hour later, the team’s gotten there. And it’s going to be up with a figure, it’s going to be up in three hours, and it’s up into, I’m like, Okay, fine, I go back to sleep, or go back and go take a walk or something. And usually, they’re pretty close to, to that unless they find something more, but I get a constant stream of SMS messages saying, Okay, this is a status, this is a status, this is status. And that’s, that’s part of the customer journey. Even in hotels, we’ve talked about this before, where, where Marriott or something like that one of the hotel chains, you get text messages along the entire route, you know, we know you’ve arrived at the airport, your bag is waiting for you the, through your whole journey to the hotel to the room, to to special things that that they can provide for you to when you’re leaving, not just text messages, but emails and personal service, also, people are involved in this. And that’s all part of the customer journey. And that makes your business better, and compete with other businesses, because obviously, hotels have to compete now with Airbnb, which is a whole different model. And taxis need to catch on to that kind of thing. And they probably have in many localities, that they need to provide the same kind of customer journey for their customers, because how do they compete with the new model of Uber and Lyft. And they compete by providing better service and understanding what their customers want. And that’s done by customer survey and real real time statistics and things like that, we’ve talked a lot about that kind of thing, that you’ve got to know what your customers want. Because if you spend all the money to put in something they don’t care about, if you’re sending out text messages, and they don’t want them, you’re just going to shove them away. So you got to know what they want it right.
Exactly, exactly. You know, that actually brings up a very interesting point for me was, you know, and this one of the one of my professors in at Northwestern University, he had kind of described that in one of our class, right. And so this was one of these pre large, you know, tractor manufacturing company. And so they had called these professors and saying, hey, you know, what, you know, we built all these pretty, pretty phenomenal feature based in a product on this NASA truck, and it has everything and anything that you want to do. But for some reason, we are not actually able to understand why they’re not, they’re not going to use, why are they not being used, because we’re not getting enough data, and all these things that we put in place. And so these professors went in there. And they did their research kind of looked through it. And the thing that they saw was, there’s almost like, it was like, it was like a airline cockpit, but then there’s about 90% of it was actually taped with duct tape. So there was so many different buttons, it was all actually put with duct tape. Because the people who actually were using were, you know, not only farmers, but people helpers who are helping some of the farmers, and they were actually getting so confused. So that’s why one lead, there’s no whatever that needs to be operationally use. That’s the features and buttons, that was actually not uptake. Everything else was ducted, out of that process. And, you know, it’s kind of interesting, what the way, you know, that you and Imran are kind of talking about, it’s all about the experience. And you know, you cannot just give them too much a feature of what you think that they need. You want to give them what they want, right? And how they would actually how the experience would be by using that that is going to be an important, you know, thing as we kind of look at some of these journey going forward as the world has, you know, is going to be changed. It’s going to be important. How do you actually start looking at digital transformation? How do you look at your products and features that underlying that you’re going to give it back to your user is going to be very important in Ireland. I’m sure you guys would have had your own experience around it. But you know, it just hit me a sweet spot. But it reminded me of one of these classes. And 90% of it was ducted and even though there were so many features, but no data was being produced because there was no usage at that.
Richard Lowe 39:46
Yeah, yeah, I’m can’t even state how many times I’ve been told to write systems or write programs and things were designed them or whatever that people didn’t use because we didn’t ask the people what they want it And the it’s it was frustrating, you know, sometimes even we knew we liked the managers, low level managers and coders and mid level managers knew that this wasn’t what the customers wanted. But we did what we were told. And we were right. And I do, sometimes it’s just takes manual surveys, one retail chain that I worked at, for many years, we did a survey of how can we make our stores more efficient, more more aimed towards what people want. So we put in, we’ve hired a team to come in and actually observe people as they walked around the store. And what they found is when people walk into a store 90% of the time they turn, right, that’s an interesting thing. So if you’ve got stuff on the left, it’s, it’s not going to sell as well. And then the first thing people want to see is flowers, that makes them feel good. The second thing they want to do is pick up produce, because that makes them feel healthy, then you put the junk food because now they feel good that they bought the produce, they feel like they’ve done something healthy, so they can buy something to reward themselves. And we found that out with customer surveys and watching customers as they shopped and experimenting a little bit. And that’s what it takes to understand your customers is you actually have, and you can do this with statistics and things, you actually have to watch them. But you could do that on websites with shopping cart analysis and data analytics and understand how customers are shopping on your website or using your website. And if you’re not using that data in to do that, you’re wasting a lot of data that you could be using and you’re wasting, you’re really wasting a big opportunity to find out what your customers are doing. Like maybe they’re abandoning your pages, maybe they’re not, maybe you’ve got long pages, and they’re not getting to the bottom. Maybe they are getting to your shopping cart, and you don’t have the delivery options they want. Maybe, maybe the you don’t take the American Express and they have American Express and you’re losing 20% of your customers. These are the reasons why people have been shopping carts or been banned in the shopping experience. I’m sure a huge company like Amazon has, or Walmart have figured this out. And you can do just about anything you want on their website. And it’s pretty easy. The public’s website was really easy. I want to order something, thank you. Where are you? I’m here good. What do you want it, I want this and this and this good. You want it delivered, you want to pick it up, it’s pretty much like that easy. And that was very impressive. I’ve actually never used it before. And that was done. Pretty sure by customer surveys and probably a little bit of experimentation, and a lot of data analytics. And I’m sure they went through their, their, their development cycle where they developed it wrong, and everybody does. But it was pretty slick. Pretty slick.
I agree. And in Bryan actually lives that day in day out, right, like, you know, he’s kind of lived that out in the current, you know, environment that we are in. And also in the past experience has been we both work together, I think you’ve run you should see or share some of your experiences, specifically when it comes to this whole, you know, how do you actually look at the features? And how do you actually get the feedback from the end? You know, customers to kind of get to the roadmap that we want to get to.
Yeah, I mean, you know, thing, which makes me wonder is that people get very attached to their ideas, right? Usually people think that the ideas which they have, those are the best ideas. And when when we design product and feature to understand your customer, right? And what they are looking for, it’s a very important thing. I have designed developed many, many applications from from web to mobile app. And I have always struggled to keep people on the journey of how customer is thinking. And nowadays, you know, there are a lot of tools where you can you can you can reach out to your customer to understand how it is. But how do you balance between what customer wants plus the distraction of new technology and new gadgets and new shiny stuff, right? We’ve been talking about zoom and we’ve been talking about those technology which is helping in today’s pandemic issues. If you think about it, that core level customer is only thinking about communication and how they’re going to talk to each other and how more than 1015 people can talk within the zoom right? I have seen zoom and Microsoft team and all those started Doing this background, digital background where you know, you don’t really see what is what is behind in your camera, you don’t, you don’t see what is in behind. But rather you can put out some country logo or something like that. However, no one has figured it out. How do you mute other people? Majority of meetings you see, half of the time people are saying can you please mute? We are hearing a lot of background things like that. Right? And that is the that is what eventually people has to think, right? What is that user thinking? How do you constantly keep ahead of what user’s needs are? And how do you cater to those those stuff? I mean, I have a lot of interesting stories around it. And but in the essence, that’s where we, we all struggle. It’s not that no larger organizations doesn’t know how to design stuff and all that, right. But you always see some, like, even zoom zoom is not from major organizations like Google and Apple and all those guys, but they are doing much better than the other other organizations are doing. So once you figure that out feature functions, and keep the customer at the core, I think it’s easy to saw and you know, keep it simple, right? It works.
Richard Lowe 46:37
Yes, exactly. Exactly. And mobile technology is something I don’t tend to to like cell phones, I was on call for 24 by seven for decades, from starting from pagers all the way to cell phones to having to carry a laptop with me everywhere I went. So now that I’ve been running my own business, as a ghostwriter for seven years, I pretty much leave my cell phone at home, except when I need it. But as I’m walking around now watching people who are pretty much stuck in their houses and stuck in their yard, they are all on their cell phones, and people are FaceTiming all the time. Young people, old people, I mean, everything in between, they’re there, they’re FaceTiming, or whatever the equivalent is on Android. And they’re, they’re doing video chats, which is something I don’t tend to do. They’re there. And they put little mouse ears on themselves and stuff like that. It’s pretty, pretty interesting. And they’re in group conversations. And they’re playing games, and they’re watching movies on their little cell phone. And even when they go shopping, their cell phones, reminding them of specials in the store and all kinds of weird things, coupons, and, and so forth. The term called geofencing is something that I ran into a few years ago, where you can say I only want my little ad to appear in this area. When people drive past the store, they get a coupon on their cell phone. It’s kind of an interesting concept. All of these things have to do with digital transformation, or things that you would look at as a business. Do you want to do this or not? And is it? Is it cost effective? Or is you’re setting a coupon to the cell phone actually annoying to your customer? And making them say No, I don’t want to shop there. Yeah, those are things that are handled by survey. But it’s just part of the digital transformation as mobile is a huge part that I was always aware of, but it’s become even become even more aware of, as I walk around now. And everybody’s everybody’s here. It’s like, wow, they’re all on cell phones all the time, even though even a little watch is connected to the internet.
That’s very true. Right? Because, you know, you’ve been talking about the service, right? And, you know, but with the evolution of technology and and the thought process, even some of the survey mechanism, you do need traditional surveys and groups to kind of help validate some of these thought process. But, you know, now sentiment tracking has actually become pretty, pretty prevalent by these days, right? An example of that is like many an airport, you walk out of the washroom, just three buttons saying, How did you live in the restroom, you know, and just do it. And now they started putting right out of the TSA kind of like entry points, right? You go through security, you have that right? Where you can actually get some instant feedback right then and there based on your experience rather than you’re forcing people to kind of think through that experience again, to be able to share that. So that’s part of the digital transformation ages ball right, where you can actually incorporate your sentiment tracking, you know, based and leveraging this is where you can leverage some artificial intelligence to it to see when you want to kind of pop that out to to your users so that you can actually get some constant feed back, right when they experience something, right? Not when the experience is already done, and then you’re trying to as their memory cells to kind of revive and be able to respond back. Right? That’s an important thing, that part of digital transformation is kind of driving some of these, what I would call the instant gratification by, and he also bought this thing about this whole cell phone. You know, I was actually in a panel, and, you know, came back with this thing called tilted heads head syndrome, right? They call the PHS tilted head syndrome, where every one of us are in the phones, right? We are all tilted the kind of looking at the one message information right now, right? Like we went from the Industrial Revolution. Now we’re actually going through information revolution, right? Where is the information now? Right. And that is what is driving everybody. And I think that’s what a lot of the organizations are looking at how they need to transform to get into the whole digital footprint.
Richard Lowe 51:00
Yep, yep. Yep. And I think this, this pandemic is going to drive something else that is I’m seeing more and more as people need income now. And the unemployment websites and things of course, we’ll give them some, but what they’re turning towards is the gig economy quite a bit. I’m seeing where they’re going out there. And they’re finding, first of all, they’re finding companies that need telecommuting support people, a lot of people are doing that. And then they’re selling stuff. They’re selling their services on the internet. So somebody knows how to draw, they go into one of these gig websites, and they put up a little thing, and they’re selling their drawing expertise. And this is, this is an interesting community digital transformation, I guess you could call it or whatever, where this pandemic is forcing people to have to work from home, and or work, do something to get income. Well, what can they do, they can make things they can they can do services, they can do call center stuff, they can do all kinds of things. Maybe it’s even stuff that we used to outsource, maybe they can do call center, maybe the call centers will start coming back here. More and more, because people here more and more need their jobs. I know that my neighbor works for one of the big banks, and they just they the call center people like crazy and they’re hiring like crazy. Walmart’s hiring call center people like crazy. Probably Amazon has to, because people need support, especially in times like this. And that’s that’s the gig economy is going to be huge. And I don’t think that that’s really been touched by the news. And I’m not sure that people have really gotten into that yet is a rule. But they will. Because as they need money, they’re gonna get it somewhere.
I agree, Richard, right. Because it’s interesting, right? Like about like, a little over a year ago, I was actually talking about where, and I think in Ron and I were talking about this, right, like, we were looking at a trend of how hrs have to kind of go look at talent pool going forward, right? Because right now, what we’ve been talking about is talent pool about, you know, hey, we don’t have talent pool, let’s go figure out some somewhere else, move them, bring them here and do it. And this whole gig economy or a good job type of things where, you know, you create a job for us, and then like somebody else will do a specific, you know, a piece of work, and then you can actually get back in. So going forward, you’re right, right. Not only like, you know, people can tell him what their services are. Now, companies are going to look into this and saying, Hey, I have a project and a project. Rather than me trying to find all these people that I need to kind of ramp up, what I’m going to do is I’m going to use my people for anything that’s not, I’m going to do it in some posting where somebody can actually take the job, you know, finish the job and check it back in and they get paid once the job is validated. And then you can incorporate and start building your overall product in a feature set as well, right? That is something that is, you know, people who are thinking for it’s going to take years and at least, you know, my prediction was it’ll take about three to five years to get there. But you’re absolutely right. Based on this pandemic, things have changed so dramatically and so fast. It’s this, it might even accelerate the timeframe to be able to, you know, get done sooner than that three to five year horizon that I was looking for.
Richard Lowe 54:25
So yeah, people people need to earn income and in the past, back in the Great Depression and things they earn income by by shoveling coal and by doing whatever they needed to do in the community to make income. Well today, they got the whole world at their fingertips. They may as well you know how to proofread you know how to write music, you know how to do video, whatever you know how to do, you can just advertise it and hopefully, if you advertise it good enough, people will find it. And virtual assistants is a great thing for people to do general stuff. You know, taxes, all kinds of stuff that people need. You do, then people are willing to pay for. And it’s, it’s fascinating to me because I’m just starting to see to see it happen. And I think it’s going to explode in the next few months and huge, huge numbers, as people start to discover, hey, I need this, I need to make money. And how do I do that?
I agree with it, right? Imagine, right? Like, this is how barter systems used to be, but was very localized. So this is almost going to be like a global barter system, right? Yep. Yep.
Richard Lowe 55:31
Yep. So. So digital transformation is now and it probably just got accelerated by several years. And, or even quicker, I imagine that companies like Amazon and Google and Microsoft are busy expanding their data centers very quickly. And as they’ve got a lot of crews, they’re adding servers and disk drives, and such, and at least I would, I would think they would, because I’m sure that it just exploded. And it’s going to be interesting, because this obviously won’t be over tomorrow, or next month, or six months from now, I would think there’s, this is gonna last a while, and it will change the world. And digital transformation will make this a different experience than the epidemic of 1918, which there wasn’t this kind of communication, there wasn’t, it was a much different kind of thing. People can stay home now. And maybe that will reduce the virality of morality, viral. However, however, many people catch this disease because they stay home and they can stay home because they can work from home. Before they did, they couldn’t do that. And they could take they can school from home. And it’s not comfortable necessarily doing all that stuff from home, that it’s a whole different game that people were playing before. But it’s a new world. It’s funny, our world has changed upside down. And probably the biggest change that we’ve had since since the discovery of the Americas by the Europeans, gonna be a huge change of the world. And it’s going to be a brave new world, coined a phrase. So any, I think we’ve been going about an hour now any closing thoughts from the two of you?
So, you know, Richard, thanks for having invited myself here. I really appreciate, you know, at least letting us share some of our thoughts and in our minds as well. And, you know, what I am looking forward for is this will be done soon, you know, we’re all in this together. And, you know, what we need to kind of look forward is where we can actually help each other and focus on the moving forward approach, right, of course. So I think that is what is going to be important for us to kind of do you know, the things that’s happening, where when you actually have a disruption, and disruption always starts causing innovation, right. And this is what I think it’s going to like you and alluded to, is going to start creating some new, much better innovation. So we can start looking at the world in a new way. Right, and shattered what and the right way as well as it’s supposed to be shared. And I wish everyone you know, a safe and a healthy and please stay home. So that way you can, you know, kind of keep the curve down.
Richard Lowe 58:36
I will second that everybody stay home, follow the directions for keeping yourself safe. Keep your children safe, your family safe. And let’s let’s come through this intact. And let’s come through this learning lessons that we need to learn and do better the next time. And run.
Yeah, no, thanks for having us. It was a very good conversation. And I’m hoping we will have some more similar. Sure. But thank you for having us.
Richard Lowe 59:07
All right. Well, this has been Richard Lowe with the writing king with Imran and Carter. And thank you for the discussion. It was fascinating. And that’s it. Thanks. Okay.
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