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Job of design thinker is to create a shared understanding of reality: Paul Pedrazzi, CA Technologies

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Design thinking is about putting the user at the core of business process. It involves understanding their needs and using the tools to craft something that fits naturally into their world. Companies like CA Technologies has imbibed this concept of customer first. “Recently, we took on a project to rethink a fairly established space – IT Service Management. Over 6 months we interviewed nearly 150 people who worked on or around service desks to get a sense of who they are, the jobs they do, and the challenges they face every day.  This deep understanding allowed us to completely re-imagine a ticketing interface. The result, developed in India, was xFlow, a fresh take on the service desk that really made our customers and the industry sit up and take notice,” said Paul Pedrazzi, General Manager, Design, CA Technologies in an interview with Mohd Ujaley.

Can you explain the concept of Design and need for Design thinking. Do you have any Indian organisation working on this concept?

Design is about putting the user at the core of your process – understanding their needs and using the tools to craft something that fits naturally into their world. Recently, we took on a project to rethink a fairly established space – IT Service Management. Over 6 months we interviewed nearly 150 people who worked on or around service desks to get a sense of who they are, the jobs they do, and the challenges they face every day.  This deep understanding allowed us to completely re-imagine a ticketing interface. The result, developed in India, was xFlow, a fresh take on the service desk that really made our customers and the industry sit up and take notice.

How important is the role of Design in the digital transformation process?

Transformation is about change, and change starts with imagining what is possible. Design is a toolset to help understand the nuances of today, and conceptualize a desired future. In that sense, design is core to transformation.

What is CA Technologies’ design strategy?

Design is a member of a product team – no more, no less.  Our product teams are driven by a single goal – to make products people want. In order to deliver, we must consider not only the functional need (what a product does), but also how people consume that experience (download, online trial, etc.).  In addressing these two, we aim to deliver just a bit of delight. Delight may sound like something out of place at an enterprise company, but we know how important these small moments are for our customers when they share an experience with their peers. After all, products from Apple and Google are magical, why can’t we have the same standard for the tools we use at work?

How many design centers do you have? What are the plans for India?

Our flagship design center is located in Santa Clara, but we have plans to scale the concept across the globe. So far, our model has been to “train the trainer” to build up the capabilities for work such as rapid prototyping and running design sprints. However, just last week we had meetings with the site leader Tanuj Vohra in Hyderabad about creating a dedicated design space. Clearly, the momentum from our recent Designathon has accelerated our discussions. Designathon was a daylong event themed “Design and Artificial Intelligence” held at CA Technologies, largest R&D center in Hyderabad wherein over 100 plus design innovators came together to solve real time IT challenges involving design and its application in the disruptive era of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

What are the most important aspects of Design?

Some people think of design as “making it pretty”.  While how something looks is important, it is the less powerful, and interesting part of design. In some ways, the job of design is to create a shared understanding of reality.  “Shared” because everyone on the team needs to internalize it, and “reality” since beliefs that don’t match the truth, never lead to good results. A well-functioning team can use Design as a mindset and approach to galvanize their view of the world and use that as the foundation to build a new, improved one.

What are the design tools and products that you use to provide customer solutions?

When we think of tools, most people immediately go to software like InVision, Sketch, etc.  We certainly use products like those to help craft our products, but more important than the tools are the techniques. Every great product begins with a deep understanding of the user. To help us in this regard, the most useful tools are user visits and interviews.  There is no substitute for spending time in the user’s environment, listening to them, and learning about their day to day challenges. With this bedrock as the foundation, we can then move onto designing a solution that will not only solve a problem, but delight as well.


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