“Where Analytics Meets Creativity”
Kiran Uppuluri, Founder and CEO of verteXD is a charismatic leader who combines passion with compassion and believes in authenticity and perseverance. She is a result-focused, versatile problem solver who takes a distinct “analytics meets creativity” approach. With a strong bias for action, she brings a dynamic ability to distill complex business issues into simple, actionable steps. Her energetic, outcome-oriented leadership style with strong customer obsession has been key to her success and is the driving force that is transformative to the culture of her company.
“Developing human-centric experiences at the intersection of data and design helps transform organizations by delivering durable solutions to compete tomorrow.”
So what do women entrepreneurs and leaders who rise up and achieve their goals do differently? What makes them successful?
“We women often tend to focus on compensating for and working on our weaknesses, while men typically focus on leveraging their strengths. It’s a subtle difference and one might say there are two sides to the same coin,” says Kiran. “But it makes a huge difference when it comes to how you approach and view opportunities that come to you in life.” According to her, networking is another important aspect in career growth. She says “women tend to deprioritize building a network, mostly because they treat work and life as two mutually exclusive circles that do not intersect. It takes a village to raise a child. Well, it takes a network to grow a career – a network of peers, mentors and sponsors. Mentors, especially for women, are great as they help bring focus on the ‘wildly important goal’ at any given point in a career. Women are such good jugglers, and we are naturally wired to ‘fire off on all cylinders’,” she says. “At different points in your career and life that may not be the best thing. I have had both male and female mentors in my life as they bring in different perspectives and diversity of thought. In addition, to have a strong trajectory of growth, sponsors are critical for women, to get the right opportunities and exposure.”
After getting a strong foundation in mathematics through Graduate studies, Kiran spent more than two decades in the corporate world working on strategy and customer experience and hand-in-hand with customers and end-users. Her biggest takeaway through her experiences was that companies could achieve groundbreaking innovation by combining a human-centered design thinking approach with artificial intelligence and data analytics. While iconic companies (think Google and Apple) have started to incorporate the fundamentals of design thinking into their organizations, Kiran realized that the companies in the mid-market, startup and non-profit sectors would be left behind in this movement. “That’s when I decided to start verteXD. Whether it is business strategy, building customer journeys or designing signature experiences at key moments of truth, taking the design-thinking approach to solve for it, transforms organizations to deliver durable solutions to compete tomorrow.”
Kiran envisions verteXD to continue as an independent boutique consulting firm. At any given point, they accept only a handful of client engagements so they can continue to provide that high touch, “all hands-on deck” approach and experience to every organization they serve, whether it’s a corporate entity, a startup, or a non-profit. As per Kiran, today’s customers prefer experiences over products, and they are experiencing the world in new and different ways where connectedness, immediacy, and simplicity are key. Besides, they expect similar experiences regardless of industry – Experiences that are: relevant and personalized, consistent, frictionless, and seamless across channels. The pandemic has only accelerated the need for digital transformation in delivering these experiences.
“One of the positive outcomes of the pandemic is the increased comfort level of clients for virtual (design and journey mapping) sessions as well as the many engaging meeting tools that have become mainstream,” says Kiran. “This, in turn, has removed the geographical boundary or limitations when searching for either talent or partner opportunities.” For the future, Kiran envisions building a diverse team of design thinking enthusiasts and evangelists from across the country to mirror their clients’ diversity. “I envision partnering with best-in-class companies across the globe to bring enhanced solutions to our clients in creating exceptional customer experiences,” she says. “A human-centered approach requires an understanding of cultural and local nuances and needs. In the near term, we will stay focused on the US and North America with a goal of expansion into other countries 5-10 years from now.”IE