DAP UPSKILL: User-Centric Digital Adoption Platform for Engineering and Product Management Projects
Hello and welcome to another insightful episode of the series of the digital adoption show that we call Dap Upskill. In this podcast series we bring you expert interviews, insightful case studies and thought provoking discussion with industrial leaders and upskilling specialists. Today, we will delve deep into the technology adoption life cycle and how user Centricity helps minimize this life cycle for the end users. We will talk to the people who build these user centric adoption platforms and ensure that it is a smooth process for all end users. My first guest on this episode is Achyuth Krishna.
Achyuth is the senior director of engineering at Whatfix. He oversees the engineering and technology charters for the digital adoption platform or DAP product line at Whatfix based in India. He drives the engineering vision and strategy across the data team with a focus on quality and efficiency.
Welcome to the podcast Achyuth. It's so good to have you here. I'm sure our listeners will gain a lot of your thoughts which are backed by more than 15 years of experience in the field. That's just amazing. So we discussed digital adoption here on this podcast. So the first question I want to ask you is you work in the development team, right? So what all software has your department adopted to? And how does this technology adoption ease your work? Basically you've adopted to DAP, right? So how does it help you? And how does your department ensure user and customer satisfaction because you are the people building the platform? Right? Yeah. Yeah. Thanks for having me on this podcast. This is a new experience.
So quite excited to do this with, with you on this podcast. So I'll speak from an engineering context, right? How we use DAP, you know, how it helps us build what we are building, right? If you look at an engineer or an engineering team, the standard set of software that we use are mostly aligned with the software development, right? This would include software or tools for change management, like software code for source code management, like big big bucket test case management and so on and so forth, which typically align with the function, the job. Now, apart from all of that, which is most quintessential is, you know, development operations tools like Jenkins and things like that. And finally, it is also with respect to when you ship the software, how do you ship the software and how do you ensure that whatever you are shipping to customers is functioning? So from a monitoring and and platform also we use tools, right? But how does this all tie in for us, right? You asked how does dap help you and your department? And you know, how does it ensure customers traditional functional lines of responsibility in the engineering team are constantly blurring, right? There were very fixed responsibilities in the traditional sense of engineering, right? Developers would only develop, there would be somebody else who, who would figure out how to take what is developed and ship it to the customer. And there was another team that was doing post production support and things like that, right? So, but now engineers are not expected to just stick to one role and just say I will just code, but now they're also required to handle. Ok.
Once I do this code, how do I ship this to the customer? And once it's shipped to a customer, how is the customer using it? And how can I support the customer post production? Right. So as a result of this, this paradigm shift, what is happening is they are now required to use more than their standard set of software and tools that they would normally combine. And dap plays a role, an important role in their ability to learn all of these additional tools and effectively operate on these multiple tools that are used. Finally, an engineering team that delivers a product with good quality and good reliability will eventually drive customer satisfaction.
If I can't do that internally, what I'm shipping to the customer is, is, is going to be a consequence of that. Right. So dap does help us do our job better and by extension of doing our job better customers are benefited by that.
All right. All right. Also we are discussing digital adoption, right. It's a relatively new concept for a lot of people out there because the general public who does not work in this field is sort of not very informative about what it is.
So it would also help our listeners if you could, you know, tell them a little bit about your thoughts on dap. And also how do you make sure that dap is user centric? Like what are the things that the engineering department does to make sure that anyone and everyone who's facing dap in their day to day life is OK, adjusting to it because it's a new thing for them also. So how do you make sure that happens? Right. So I I look at it from the context of context itself, right? Each of us have now grown in our functional roles to do a lot more functionally, to do a lot more, but we need to be enable to do that much, right? I'll try to say that from a engineering aspect of you know, every engineer who is using all of these tools that we spoke about in the prior question, they don't need to know everything, end to end in order to do their function, they need to know only what they need to know, right? It it's a very crude way of saying it, but it's actually the right thing to say, right? You only need to understand what enables you to do your job more effectively or your function more effective, right? This is where user Centricity comes into play, right? So the dap platform giving you a user centric approach and and giving you something that is only of context as far as you are concerned is what is becoming invaluable as far as the dap platform, right? So when we try to design something or when we try to build on whatfix when we ship it to a customer that that is part of the design ethos, right? How do you first enable the customer make it user centric for their users? If you can target content to a specific function or a specific role that is where the maximum impact comes up, I'll I'll take an example of something that is happening internally So we are we are onboarding a new, new platform or a new tool for observerbility. So there is an existing one and we are replacing
it with a new one, right? And this is to be done across all, all the engineering numbers across all the teams, right? We're going to open this up to everybody in the team. Now, there is an actual learning curve here because this is something new and what they were used to that is existing in the system or prior, they have to now rethink a little bit and then apply whatever their, their use cases where they're on that tool into the new one. Yeah. So our thought processes can you use DAP in order to bridge this gap? So can I figure out what is the most used functional scopes in the existing application? Can I translate that using Whatfix itself and then integrate the new application with Whatfix? Right. So if I can do that effectively, then my engineers don't, they don't skip a beat at all. They can be as productive as they are currently, even though a new system has come into play, but it gives them the same ability to do. So which is then, you know, it is, it is supported
by the data. I think things like this is not very important. Yeah, because that shift that one needs to make in their everyday work life. Adapting to a new platform platform is exactly, it's a very complex platform and I don't expect we should not expect everybody to understand every aspect of it.
There's no need to, right? If I'm building a specific feature in whatfix and I'm shipping to customer, I only need to know how to observe that particular feature. It's OK. I don't need to understand the details that go behind, you know, 3-4 levels of that's not required of of, of me at this point. All right. All Right. So we've discussed dap quite a lot. Now, my next question to you would be how do you make sure that you and your team more or less makes the most out of DAP and leverage it to benefit you and your users? I think you just answered that a little bit, but just a deeper insight. Yeah.
Makes sense, right? See on a personal front, multiple things, right? Apart from the engineering tools, we are also exposed to hr MS like success factors. Many of these don't naturally come to to an engineering member, right? They are most comfortable with, with code and code related applications maybe. But something out of the ordinary is something that we would need to think or apply a little bit more thought process. So for an engineering team, if you look at effectiveness, right, it's measured by developer productivity.
and it's not a simple measure by any means, right? It's an easy word to throw out there, but it's a little bit more complicated. So a feedback is an essential sign, is an essential part of the cycle this activity. So you take whatfix for example, we are in Whatfix so let's talk about whatfix, which has so many features that can assist with this task. So feedbacks user goals, you know the ability to to user tracking and so many things that the platform itself provides, right? So I can measure the effectiveness of my team either directly or indirectly using the app by using all of these features that the platform gives to me eventually an engineer who is independent and is the most successful outcome of any transition that I can get to, you know, internally that that is out here, right? So I look at it from that sense, right? How do I make sure I'm making the most sort of not, not so clear in terms of an answer, but I think I can use that to figure out how effective my engineers are at this point. So that will, that will give me at least an indirect measure of of of, of the effective.
OK. Also, I think you can track what all features of the dap platform that you have adopted to are most comfortable for your users, for your team members basically. So you can build all that's absolutely correct. Yes. OK.
So just the last few words, anything that you have to say about dap and making it more user centric, what all do you think has helped you make it user centric? What all things should one keep in mind while trying to adapt to dap? So I've been here seven years. OK. And a little bit of history will help me answer this question and I hope I do a good job of it. So when we started off initially, it was, it was from the prism of a guided learning solution Whatfix was a guided learning platform, user Centricity was not a very critical thought process, right? We were in that space where we said, OK, people use applications or enterprise applications and they're going to struggle with it. And whatfix is going to try to bridge that
gap for you without having users to move out of your application to get right. But then slowly it started evolving, you know, we decided or rather we we realized that we can do much more with a platform like whatfix if you put the user sentencing? So then it started getting more and more interesting, right? Contextualization for the user based on who the user is, what their function is, perhaps which department they are from then came the other part, ability to identify who a particular user is, right, uniquely. Can you identify that user then based on that identification, what can you do for that user in terms of, you know, maybe a targeted pop up can be given for that particular user, right? So so on and so forth. It kept it kept moving within the the natural progression of user Centricity. And lastly, we, you know, there is a ability to integrate with customers platforms to get user information and ingest that information in Whatfix and then you use it to modify whatfixe's behavior with respect to those users. So everything that we have done after that those initial stages has always been with the user in mind, right? So I think user centricity also opens up many possibilities in in the future.
Also, if you look at labs, many of the products that are coming out of labs comments, it's very user centric, double slash, comments that we have is very user centric. There are AI initiatives that are being released, you know, one of them is already come with the product, but we are thinking of a few more that are there, those also are very user centric, right? You're giving the user an ability to prompt and get information from Whatfix itself using those abilities. So, I think now it's an established part usercentericity of our, of our entire thought process. And exactly so in the last episode, we had Nabras from the sales team and he told us that our process of the profile of the user that dap uses to give certain prompts. He told us that when he became a manager, he got suddenly his prompts were very different when he was not a manager, his pros were entirely different.
So I think that that is amazing. That is, that gives the user some confidence that OK, even if I don't have a hired person above me to guide me through this process. There is this software which will anyways help me, I don't need to depend on anyone else to bridge this gap.
Absolutely correct. That's amazing. So, kudos to your team for building something that amazing.
It's a, it's a, it's, it's a big team. It's a capable team. I think they worked hard to do what they do and they definitely have delivered a good product to whatfix's customers. All right. All right. Thank you so much.
I for being a part of our show and I'm sure everyone who watches this will learn so much more than they already know. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you. It's like I said, first experience, but awesome. Thank you.
Thank you. All right. So my next guest on today's podcast is Anurag Hota. He leads the charge in product management at. So it took us a long time to get you here Anurag can you tell us a little bit about yourself first? Hi Aarya excited to be on this podcast and just a brief about me. I am a product manager here at, Whatfix I've been in this field for close to eight years now and especially super excited about the DAP space.
I believe we will be talking a bit about that and what really drives me or what really excites me is identifying users painpoint, talking to our customers, figuring out who exactly is causing friction with their uses of the product and trying to figure out how our product can help them, you know, solve their use cases. That's something that is really insightful exciting for me. Amazing, amazing, very excited to have you here and let's get started.
So, in this episode, we are discussing about the user Centricity of dap OK. And as a builder of the platform, as you guys really take in charge of how to make it user centric. My first question to you would be, what all Softwares has your department adopted to? And how does this technology adoption ease your work basically? Are you using dap? And if yes, how is it helping you? Yeah. So there's a lot of questions let's say If I am able to answer those. Those are definitely part of everyone's life nowadays with mobile phones or software application that we are using.
Yeah here at Whatfix, product in we do use a lot of applications to you know, improve our productivity work collaboratively with like the other team members as well. So some of the tools are fairly regular to that. I'm sure all of the industry will be using. For example, we do use Jira for collaborating with our developers or to collaborate with our designers.
There are a lot of refinements going on, but one tool in particular that has helped us a lot in the product team here is productgoal. we do use it to collect all kind of feedbacks that we receive paid from our customers, paid from our sales team, our market research team, we collect all of them and this tool is super easy to use it, sorts of act for them. It captures all the insights and then go through it, figure out what are the themes emerging. And then we try to, you know, sort of work with the design team to see whether this is the problem treatment actually worth solving the the the regular development cycle follows, right? And there's sort of a single tool that gives visibility to the entire organization as well because we charter our road map, our our reasoning why we are doing something, the prioritization, everything happens on this simple tool. So yeah, it has really helped us a lot and it has really improve the productivity of the product team.
OK? I amazing. OK. So we are discussing digital adoption, right? A lot of people are not very aware about the idea of digital adoption. And one thing which we are focusing on in this podcast is the technology adoption life cycle. OK? Which is basically if someone is introduced to a new technology, how long it takes for them to adapt to the entire thing and to be very comfortable with that environment? OK. So as a product person, how do you make sure the DAP is user centric or subject to minimize this life cycle for the abuser? Yeah.
So let me answer it in one way as you mentioned, that tap is fairly a new category of, but I have a different take on this in the sense that if you see the crux of distant adoption or what we are actually trying to say that has been in literature for quite some time. Like I'm sure listeners of this podcast, if they are for the product team or any other team would have heard of this famous book by, by Bush, it's called Product and Growth. It was really a sensation when it was launched.
I was gonna add it and also it was mentioned, right? Like how do you, how do you ensure that the product that you are selling? The product can be for any, any if any app that any use case, right can be for and for customer service, any any department, right? How do you ensure that the people who are supposed to use it, use it in the right way? Right? And it is always the responsibility of the product manager that hey, you know what I should inform the user they have to do this or I should highlight something in the application of the user. This is where you have to click and not anywhere else, at least in the first onboarding phase, right? And even trainers, product trainers who are responsible typically in enterprise companies to ensure all their 1000-2000 employees are trained on a particular work. I will that, ok, how will you ensure that in the application that these people are using? I define a guided path or I define a particular work.
But that is the only thing that you should do when you are actually on board, right? The project has always there. I would say DAP as a tool has actually facilitated in the sense that we have brought out a product which solves a problem statement that was always there. And we made it easier for our personas which are typically product trainers or documentation, team members, all the physical product that say hey, you know what, now you have a tool where without writing any single line of code, you can define pretty much any journey that you want your users to do. It can be a simple journey which has 10 steps. It can be a journey which have multiple approaches and all or it can be as simple as a simple app product messaging that. Hey, hi, hello, Anurag you have logged into the product for the first time or like or that.
So that is something that Whatfix has actually brought to the market and that has really stick with the customers who are actually using it for so many enterprise applications today? Hm ok. Ok. That's, that's very insightful.
Thanks, Anurag. Also one more thing that I wanted to know is how are you and end user of dap when you are building these platforms for the end user? Basically when you are building dap, how is that helping you do that? How is it increasing your productivity efficiency, your team efficiency. How is dap helping you build the platform? That's an interesting question for you know for whom is actually building? I try to, I try to answer that. Yeah.
The best thing is that I mentioned is the start at this company workplace. We also use a lot of tools, maybe more than 20 plus different applications across different terms. I give example of what product the the product team uses. Similarly, you will have examples from, you know, customer success team, marketing team, customer, every people have their own needs and they have their own applications, right? And what we have done is because our tool is used for helping people adopt the application, any feature, any capability that we launched in Whatfix, we do a lot that what that means is if you come to Whatfix today and you are part of any different team, any of the team that application that you would use, we have already on top of that, right? So how does that help that way? Like of course, we reduce our own internal support call because we don't have to spend time paying this new employee that these are the things that you need to learn about this application. And it also gives us, you know, immediate feedback from our internal team members because they are probably the nearest one for a product team, for a design team.
It's very important. OK, I release something. I go to them and tell, hey, you used it.
How did you feel about it? What, what was missing there? Right. To give an example, let's say there are many steps that I use dap to automate many of my tasks or improve my efficiency. So I do manage a team of three or four members.
And recently we had a yes where one of my he wanted that he wants to move out to let's say our office right now. I do know that has a policy of relocation, but I have to figure out where it was, right. I can search for emails but I know that because the market is already there and this is exactly why the use cases are up. I was in gmail when I get that request in gmail, we have also integrated work.
So I just did a quick search. What is the relocation policy? And then it was I got a very quick summary assisted by AI that is the relocation policy, of course, that helped my purpose. But if I wanted more information, the the policy in details, I could have clicked it and read to the entire document.
So pretty much I like at least for me, I probably saved 10 or in minutes of my time just using Whatfix And then now we or we try to integrate lot of work that managers, you use our employees, you and see what are the things that can be automated for them, maybe leave approvals or work from home approval all of these things. Yeah we need people to open a new tab to see who have applied and then do an approval, right? Why can't you automate that? Things like that? We have automated and we have seen significant you know, reduction in time for people when they were doing this without Whatfix right. So that's how we use, of course, with those users pattern and all and talking to your members, you figure out OK, people really want all this is cool. Can I figure some of my tasks here or can I add some of my task in my sort of create it out the flag? So in you look for as a PM because once you see that, you know, OK, this may be a point that users of our customers may also be facing and then we probably be the next set of capabilities from there on. All right. All right.
Amazing. That's, that's super amazing. Now, I just want to know one thing and that would be how would you tell a user to get the most out of dap or maybe how are you doing it? But more importantly, what would you say to someone who's new to the concept? But also wants to grab the most he can.
Yeah. So a very apt question given the industry we are in because the way we look at it is, or in my opinion, is every industry actually evolves or every category of product actually evolves, right? So you have solutions. If you look what they were doing 10-20 years back, you will have a very different capabilities that they are providing today, right? Similarly for dap because it is probably the terminology is probably four or five years old initials have started people. Oh yeah, this so amazing. I can create pop ups.
I can create beacons and things like that. And that is how our customer started doing, right? But what eventually happened is they didn't thought about the end users, right? Like people who would actually consume this content. Now imagine yourself, let's say somebody would, you would be using some application and the moment you log in, you see 10 calls coming together, right? As a user, you would not like it, right? You were probably like what am I supposed to see all this, right? But that is how the industry actually started, people thought, OK.
Now they have this super interesting tool. We can create so many things and they didn't bother like whether the users really need it or not. So that's where it is very important for anyone who is actually new here or have been using that for quite some time to be very clear of the objectives for which they are using a tool like this. OK? This is not a tool for how to create what you think is, right? OK.
Rather it is a tool for you to figure out what are the pain points that your users are figuring in an application and then assist them. A good example for that would be you probably don't need 100 popups in your system, right? Definitely, no, but definitely go for a new user who is logging in for the first time and then you can probably personalize that information that he he you have recently joined the organization. These are the three things that you need to do that would be much, much as well as helpful for the user then giving a generic popup time. Have you recently joined the organization to this things? So that is a, so for someone who has to make the most out of it, I would say, don't go directly and start creating content, which you believe is the right content.
And typically what people do is whatever is there in the software, just make it, make a Whatfix content out of it and that is not what we want because eventually, then you would end up with probably 500 or 200 popups which nobody will be, you know, willing to read or purpose. But rather look at your objectives, figure out why you want to use a tool like this, then at least figure out where your users are actually struggling. Is it in the fourth page of the application? Is it in the fifth page of the application or is it like on a particular workflow they are struggling to figure out those instances and then augment your content to that, right? So that would give you much better roI than simply thinking, OK, I have created 100 content. What will happen now? Why are people not using it? Ok. All that amazing.
It was everything I think the listeners needed to hear about user centricity and dap. And thank you so much for being a part of the podcast. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts over here and it was so good to have you. Thank you, Aarya. Thanks for having this discussion. I really enjoyed it. Have a good day and bye everyone.
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