Q: What’s special about the way you work with clients? What unique strength sets you apart and adds to the Kony DBX brand?
A: I’ve spent most of my career conceptualizing and building products, and as a product manager, I’ve had the unique opportunity to interact with customers at multiple points along their journey. Over the past 15+ years, I’ve done several product demonstrations as part of the sales process, requirements’ workshops, feature validations, focus group meetings, roadmap discussions, conversations around customer support issues and usability interviews with end users. In my opinion, this requires empathy and good listening skills, which not only make the conversations meaningful to both parties but more importantly help build a solid relationship with the customer.
Product managers must be able to put themselves in the shoes of various customer personas, before conceptualizing and creating the product – they need to think about the project sponsor, the product owner at the bank, marketing, IT, security/compliance team, the operations team, customer service/branch staff and most importantly the customers/members of the financial institution that would ultimately use the product.
I truly believe that before you start creating a product or a feature, you need to first put yourself in the shoes of the customer and listen to the users!
Aditya’s favorite quote:
“A quitter never wins, and a winner never quits.”
Q: Describe your career in a few short sentences.
A: I started out as a developer and worked hands-on with technology before getting into business school where I majored in Finance and Information Systems. I then worked with a consulting firm, which allowed me to work with a large bank in their Corporate Banking/Treasury group. I then happened to stumble upon a product management role around customer experience products and this is where I found my true calling! Ever since, I’ve worked to create and manage customer support and project/portfolio management products and worked with several banks and telecom companies along the way.
About 9 years ago, I joined the India office at Kony to start the applications group and then moved to the US a couple of years later. This period has undoubtedly been the best part of my professional life so far, where I’ve had the opportunity to conceptualize products from the ground up, collaborate with customers and partners in building fantastic banking products, and most importantly, work with some of the most brilliant people on the planet at Kony!
Q: Describe how work gets done at Kony — and why it matters to customers.
A: Kony is one of the rare fin-tech companies where products and solutions are built in active collaboration with customers. In other product companies, requirements and features do get validated before they’re built, but Kony is probably one of the few companies that gets customers to “co-create” and “co-innovate” products that truly make a difference to their end-customers, members and employees! This is one reason why our products, messaging and roadmap resonate very well with our customers!
Q: How do you work as an individual and also as a member of a team? How does collaboration occur on a practical basis at Kony?
A: Great outcomes for our customers happen as a result of great products, and great products happen as a result of true collaboration between teams not just within the product but across the entire company. Mutual respect and empathy for others, and at the same time the sense of ownership and pride for every deliverable a team member produces – these are the guiding principles for all teams at Kony.
Q: Where do you see digital banking taking us in the next five years? What should people be preparing for now that is yet to come?
A: Whatever happens, people across the world will continue to own bank accounts, move money across accounts, purchase products and services and borrow money for their expenses. Over the next few years, what could possibly change are the types of accounts they hold, the ways they access their accounts and transactions, and the devices and methods used for moving money and making payments. Banks and credit unions that manage to keep pace with these changes will be able to retain their customers and members, and they need a digital partner like Kony who can help them keep pace with this change
Another key aspect that could change is the way financial institutions monitor and manage the financial health of their customers. In the same way that hospitals and insurance companies have adopted tactics to proactively maintain a healthy lifestyle, monitor health and try to upsell products that help customers meet their health needs, banks should also start focusing on the financial goals and “lifestyles” of members and customers and create customized financial products for specific customer segments. Unless they do this, it would be difficult for banks to capture users in the Gen Z segment, some of whom have just started entering the “earning” group. Gen Z users have different characteristics than other generations e.g. they’re more independent, are more open to alternative financial products, will likely be more entrepreneurial and are true digital natives! All of this demands a different set of financial health management offerings from banks in the next 5-10 years! If banks don’t plan for this new generation of users, they will, over the course of the next 5-10 years, find themselves losing market share to the larger banks, the challenger banks and the “De Novo” banks!
The Kony DBXpert Profile Series introduces you to our team and provides insight into how we think and work. See Aditya’s complete work history on LinkedIn by clicking here.