“People, processes, tools, and technology must all adapt—and quickly—to meet the demands of the new digital economy.”  Vidhya Srinivasan

As Vidhya Srinivasan has navigated her career choices over more than 18 years in the technology industry, the ability to grow and to challenge herself has been key.

“I strongly believe every opportunity molded me a little bit in terms of leadership, domain expertise — both marketing and IT — and, most importantly, the culture of the organization,” she said. “BMC is the next chapter of that journey and I am having the time of my life — launching a new brand, BMC Helix, and trailblazing an exciting path for BMC and myself.”

Srinivasan is currently vice president of digital service management (DSM) solutions marketing at BMC. She joined BMC in 2016 following executive roles at companies such as Cisco, ServiceNow, and Sun where her responsibilities included helping to build and grow customer, developer and partner support communities.

Being Close to Both the Business and the Product

Srinivasan majored in finance at the University of Madras in part due to a desire to follow in her father’s footsteps by pursuing a business career in banking. However, within a month of starting her first job out of college in finance, she realized it was not what she wanted to do.

“I decided to major in computer science and that’s what I did,” Srinivasan said. “I started out as a software engineer at Sun Microsystems building web applications, then transitioned to do product management for Sun Services.”

The opportunity at Cisco to engage in a mix of product management and digital marketing was Srinivasan’s “aha moment, when I realized that what I enjoyed doing was telling stories,” she recalled. That realization led her to ServiceNow where she helped to build a brand around the ServiceNow platform, community, and ecosystem.

Moving to BMC has enabled Srinivasan to expand her marketing experience beyond digital marketing to include product and solution marketing and to take on the challenge of helping BMC to regain its leadership position in IT service management (ITSM). “Given my affinity to technology and my background, being close to the business and to the product was somewhere I wanted to be,” she said.

BMC is a sponsor of CMSWire and Digital Workplace Group’s Digital Workplace Experience taking place June 17 to 19 at the Radisson Blu Aqua hotel in Chicago. Srinivasan’s colleague, Daren Goeson, principal product manager of the BMC Helix chatbot, will be giving a session at the conference titled, “‘Alexa … Show Me the Future of Work’ — Employee Experience Redefined with AI,” on June 18.

We spoke with Srinivasan for her take on what constitutes an intelligent workplace; how the increased use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will benefit employee experiences; and the lessons to learn and apply to the digital workplace from the world of customer experience and engagement.

Augment Humans’ Abilities With ‘the Power of AI/ML’

CMSWire: What constitutes an intelligent workplace and why should organizations be looking at building such a workplace today?

Srinivasan: For us at BMC, an intelligent digital workplace delivers simple, context-aware interfaces that provide engaging omnichannel experiences to support employees whenever, wherever and however they want to work.

Key components include omnichannel service (drawn from a portal, Slack, chatbots, virtual agents); shopping cart experiences; an enterprise service catalog; a ‘Genius Bar’ approach to resolution; flexible workspaces with ambient experiences; and an end-to-end employee journey (across IT, HR, facilities, etc.)

CMSWire: How do you see the concept of an intelligent workplace changing so it can support shifts in what ‘work’ will mean?

Srinivasan: As organizations start embedding more AI/ML and chatbots into their experiences, they will see many benefits, for instance:

  • Improved automation and centralization of common activities reduce the manual activity associated with processing user requests.
  • Empowered employees have improved job satisfaction.
  • Intuitive, modern solutions allow employees to solve problems for themselves through self-service.
  • Accuracy and responsiveness of requests made through self-service are improved.
  • Agility and responsiveness of IT to new or revised business demands and needs are increased.

CMSWire: What do you expect to become possible in the next five to 10 years through the maturation of machine learning and AI within the digital workplace? How will these developments help organizations and employees?

Srinivasan: The future of work is going to be reimagined by the combination of humans and machines. I believe it is key to embrace this disruption that we are all undergoing to truly transform and be successful and relevant in the future.

Some examples of how developments will be beneficial include self-service through virtual agents and chatbots. We all experience that in our day-to-day lives —American Express, United or AT&T are great examples. This is exactly what will happen to employee requests within organizations. There will be no need for humans to support those requests.

Tools such as MS Teams, Slack, Google tools are increasingly embedding AI/ML capabilities like auto-suggesting and providing recommendations so that we do not have to spend too much time doing things like responding to emails and tasks.

Saying the future of work is human is a fallacy. We want to free up humans from work to do bigger things by augmenting their abilities with the power of AI/ML.

CMSWire: Which best practices and lessons learned should companies take from the world of customer experience and engagement and apply to employee experience and engagement? Should firms include their partners in their digital workplaces?

Srinivasan: In our personal lives, we all have expectations in terms of the type of service we receive whether it is from a grocery store, an online retailer or at an event.

There are three key things that stand out to me:

  1. Immediacy
  2. Simplicity
  3. Access

We all want to be able to get service from any channel, any time and anywhere. We all want our request or service experience to be as simple as possible, whether it’s buying things, upgrading your service or getting help. Nobody wants to wait for anything.

We should take all of these expectations and apply them to our workplaces. So, we should think about providing our employees with the experiences that they expect from the onboarding of a new employee through to making it easier to perform work or to request anything from your company’s service catalog. 

Immediacy, simplicity and access are key tenets of a digital workplace.

A digital workplace needs to be truly virtual and accessible at anytime, from anywhere and via any device. Doing that takes care of any questions related to inclusions.

CMSWire: How should companies think about the concept of cognitive service management (CSM) in the context of improving employee experience rather than in the context of customer and service agent experience and engagement?

Srinivasan: As disruptive technologies like multi-cloud, IoT, multi-channel experiences, DevOps and Big Data transform industries, customer experience is quickly emerging as a prime factor in competitive advantage.

Both consumers and employees expect more freedom and flexibility in the way they interact with businesses, with differentiated services designed around their own needs and preferences, and availability through any channel they choose.

People, processes, tools and technology must all adapt — and quickly — to meet the demands of the new digital economy.

CMSWire: Which TV show or movie series would you recommend binge watching and why? Which TV show or movie series have you tried to binge watch and failed? Why do you think that was?

Srinivasan: My favorite TV show that I have binge watched is Game of Thrones. I was not an early adopter of this show. After four seasons of hearing so much about it, I decided to give it a try. What I really liked about GoT were two things:

  1. The complexity of relationships and the strategic nature of the decision making involved; and
  2. The leadership roles of women — Sansa, Cersei, Daenerys and Arya. They were at the core of every critical move in the show. That was powerful.

House of Cards was one show I tried but which never really clicked with me for a couple of reasons. The show just reminded me of the political situation we were living through (I’m not sure I wanted to see more of that) and the controversies surrounding some of the cast.

For me personally, shows and entertainment in general should either motivate me or help me relax. 

Learn more about the Digital Workplace Experience.