Khadim Batti of Whatfix: “Focusing on creating a customer experience for all conditions”

Focusing on creating a customer experience for all conditions — Ensuring that people are able to get accustomed to technology at their own pace, in their own time, whenever and wherever they want. As part of our series about “How To Use Digital Transformation To Take Your Company To The Next Level”, I had the pleasure of interviewing […]

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Focusing on creating a customer experience for all conditions — Ensuring that people are able to get accustomed to technology at their own pace, in their own time, whenever and wherever they want.

As part of our series about “How To Use Digital Transformation To Take Your Company To The Next Level”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Khadim Batti.

Khadim is the co-founder and CEO of leading Digital Adoption Platform, Whatfix. Prior to starting Whatfix, Khadim spent more than 10 years at Huawei Technologies leading the Business Intelligence unit. In his role, Khadim was responsible for managing the Deep Packet Inspection and BI product portfolio for the Huawei Central Research Division. Prior to Huawei, Khadim worked as the Program Manager for IBM Kenexa. Khadim holds a Master’s in Information Technology from IIIT Bangalore and a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering from the University of Mumbai.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I was always driven by the potential impact of what software platforms can bring to any business. Having spent nearly 10 years at Huawei, I felt confident that the value-based model of SaaS was here to stay.

Vara, my co-founder and CTO of our company, and I have worked together for many years. We shared a common passion of building a global product company from India with innovation at its heart. We took our first bet on enabling SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for businesses. We built an on-demand SaaS tool that businesses can use to implement recommendations for enhancing their organic search visibility. It was called SearchEnabler.

We received initial success but soon realized that the product was not being adopted effectively. The drawbacks stimulated further research. We started building interactive flows to solve the adoption problem, which worked like magic for most of our customers. We saw immense improvement in adoption of the product. The traction increased significantly and we got numerous requests from customers to build this capability for other solutions too.

This made us take the challenge of ‘Digital Adoption’ seriously that inspired us to run more experiments. We kickstarted a free, community-based model that enabled everyone to create flows on any digital platform or website. The response was phenomenal. It further validated the results we received earlier from our customers. We started to realize that ‘Digital Adoption’ is an unsolved problem that affects productivity. With the increasing dependency on digital solutions, the time was apt for a product that can solve the adoption problem effectively. Thus, we pivoted our efforts to creating Whatfix.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

The early days were full of funny stories. From our brand identity to the way we solved problem statements inside the organization, everything was changing very quickly.

I remember when Vara was booking travel tickets for his family, we realized that the inefficiencies within that process were a consistent problem that roots from the lack of adoption. The problem-solver attitude in us wanted to see if we can enable his family members to book the tickets on their own with a series of interactive balloon tips that can help guide them to book the tickets seamlessly. Eventually, we realized that this same concept can help our customers implement the DIY SEO platform for their businesses. So, we started generating smart flows for them and gradually started working on a community-based model.

In a way, we owe the travel booking websites for conceiving the idea of Whatfix.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

It’s not just one person that I am grateful for. When you are building a company there are a lot of people who add their value. We are thankful for several early customers, our investors, early stage employees… really anyone who had the faith and trust in us when we had hardly anything. Also family, who had to make sacrifices whether that be late nights or vacations, etc. There were hundreds of people who backed our entrepreneurial journey and all of those people are still with us.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

There’s two actually. First is “The Men Who Built America,” a four-part documentary series. It follows the men who created the legacy of the country and really focuses on the importance of having determination and grit. I highly recommend it. The book “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” by Rashmi Bansal also showed me that it’s possible for ordinary people to build something lasting.

Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. When your company started, what was its vision, what was its purpose?

The need for a solution like Whatfix has grown rapidly within the last decade.

And broadly there have been two major driving forces.

The first one being the big shift of softwares to the cloud. It was pioneered by the leading enterprise companies like Salesforce, ServiceNow, Workday, etc. They were shortly followed by software giant’s Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, etc., who were rapidly trying to secure their foothold among the cloud based softwares.

Prior to cloud, most of the software was on-premise and centralized. The advent of the cloud democratized many things, such as the capability to purchase and get pain points resolved, and processed streamlined.

This has essentially become a driving factor for digital transformation.

In the earlier days when people were selling software, nobody asked the question whether employees were utilizing them well enough. Nobody asked whether the enterprise resource planning (ERP) or the software suite was extensively utilized or not.

But now, with SaaS, it’s delivered online, and it’s easier for the companies to cut the cord if the software is not utilized properly. Now with such a system, each department of the company uses a variety of softwares to solve their needs. The number of purchases has rapidly increased and adoption has become pivotal.

However, there’s a flipside to this. Since a lot of softwares is bought by companies, employees are overwhelmed with the number of applications that they use. Currently, employees of larger companies with 5,000+ employees have access to 15–20 applications that they can utilize.

This gives rise to a new layer of experience which is needed for an employee to utilize the applications that they use on a regular basis effectively to simplify their job. Essentially, helping the company purchase these applications to realize its ROI and solve the adoption problem for the software itself/

Our vision was to create an interactive layer in between the employee and the software that can simplify their job and help them learn the software effortlessly.

Are you working on any new, exciting projects now? How do you think that might help people?

Yes, always. We’re currently focused on expanding Whatfix globally in the ANZ, EU, and SEA regions. We’ve also recently expanded our product footprint to desktop and mobile applications. Additionally, we’ve learned the share of SaaS is explosive, but the majority are still on-premise. We are learning to support legacy while also learning next gen by creating a unified experience across all devices.

Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion about Digital Transformation. For the benefit of our readers, can you help explain what exactly Digital Transformation means? On a practical level what does it look like to engage in a Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to transform existing traditional and non-digital business processes and services, or creating new ones, to meet the evolving market and customer expectations, thus completely altering the way businesses are managed and operated, and how value is delivered to customers.

Digital transformation can look like a lot of things, but essentially it is the drive to keep the momentum of any initiative moving toward your ultimate business goals. To do so, it allows us to continually address the main drivers of digital transformation: digital twin, privacy, culture, augmented intelligence, and digital product management.

Which companies can most benefit from a Digital Transformation?

I think in the face of this global pandemic, there isn’t any industry that hasn’t been affected from a technological standpoint and doesn’t realize the value of digital transformation. Some of the key industries that we are seeing driven are HR, insurance, and of course, healthcare.

We’d love to hear about your experiences helping others with Digital Transformation. In your experience, how has Digital Transformation helped improve operations, processes and customer experiences? We’d love to hear some stories if possible.

While the ROI of digital transformation depends on a variety of factors, the right technology can greatly improve how a business functions and how customers engage with it. One of the key factors is using technology to work more efficiently. For example, for enterprises, the time and money spent training new employees and updating digital resources can quickly get out of hand. Digital transformation gives the proper tools for businesses to keep costs down and productivity up. It also helps with the customer experience overall. The tech-savvy customers want a great experience through multiple touchpoints — mobile apps, social media, email, live chat, etc. Digital transformation is the driving force behind improved customer experiences.

Has integrating Digital Transformation been a challenging process for some companies? What are the challenges? How do you help resolve them?

Whatfix partnered with Grifols, a global healthcare company, to help the organization speed up its digital adoption journey. Specifically, Grifols added the Salesforce Lightning interface for its sales and marketing teams to boost productivity, optimize operations and build applications faster. They wanted a solution that would provide an easy transition and foster faster onboarding of users. Initially, there was insufficient adoption but Whatfix was able to help them simplify the onboarding process while reducing the time spent on training. Whatfix’s digital adoption solution also made new hiring training easier and Grifols benefited from the capability to create walkthroughs, pdfs and videos.

Ok. Thank you. Here is the primary question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are “Five Ways a Company Can Use Digital Transformation To Take It To The Next Level”? Please share a story or an example for each.

1. Adoption & Change Management — How do you handle change management and how do you handle adoption?

2. Identifying bottlenecks in the company — Efficiency is important. You need to constantly identify use cases which can be automated.

3. On-premise to Cloud

4. Focusing on creating a customer experience for all conditions — Ensuring that people are able to get accustomed to technology at their own pace, in their own time, whenever and wherever they want.

5. Automating a large majority of manual tasks that can increase productivity.

In your opinion, how can companies best create a “culture of innovation” in order to create new competitive advantages?

That’s an interesting question. There are a few forces that can drive innovation.

Firstly culture in an organization that fosters innovation.

Innovation is based on market trends. Simply driving the idea of how to solve the problem of tomorrow is at least 20% of the roadmap for innovation. It’s driven either bottom-up or top-down and is based on market research and emerging tech. We look to analysts on the market.

he customers. 60% of the innovation roadmap is driven by the demands of the customer by understanding their pain-points and adapting based on their requirements.

How can our readers further follow your work?

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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